The City of Guelph, Belmont Equity (HCBP) Holdings Ltd. and Guelph Land Holdings (the applicants) are applying for an agreement to mitigate impacts Jefferson Salamanders and their habitat for the purpose of developing the Hanlon Creek Business Park (HCBP), a new subdivision in the City of Guelph.
The Jefferson Salamander is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List, in Ontario Regulation 230/08 under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA), as a threatened species. Clause 9(1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take a living member of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an extirpated, endangered or threatened species. Clause 10(1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall damage or destroy the habitat of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an endangered or threatened species. Protection for Jefferson Salamander habitat came into force in February 2010.
The subject lands are currently being surveyed for the presence of Jefferson Salamander. The survey began in March and will continue until the end of April. If Jefferson Salamanders are found, the City of Guelph, Belmont Equity (HCBP) Holdings Ltd. and Guelph Land Holdings are requesting an authorization through an agreement to harm Jefferson Salamanders and to damage potential habitat.
The Minister may enter into an agreement to an applicant under Section 23 of Ontario Regulation 242/08 that authorizes the person to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by section 9 or 10 of the ESA if:
a) the activity was approved prior to June 30, 2010;
b) the agreement was entered into before June 30, 2010;
c) the agreement specifically provides that it applies to the species; and
d) the agreement states that:
i. the Minister is of the opinion that the agreement requires the person who engages in the activity to take reasonable steps to minimize adverse effects on the species,
ii. the Minister is of the opinion that, if the agreement is complied with, the activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species in Ontario, and
iii. the Minister is of the opinion that the agreement does not conflict with the obligation of the Minister to ensure the implementation of any action under subsection 11(9) of the Act.
The draft plan for the HCBP subdivision was approved by the Ontario Municipal Board on November 8, 2006 making the project eligible for an exemption agreement.
The applicants are proposing to mitigate for damage to potential Jefferson Salamander habitat by constructing vegetated corridors linking breeding ponds with foraging and over-wintering habitat. The applicants also propose to install culverts in locations where a proposed road would cross the path potentially used by salamanders to move from breeding ponds to foraging and over-wintering habitat and vice versa. Headwalls would be constructed to direct salamanders to the culvert crossings. Barrier fencing would be erected to exclude salamanders from the built-up area of the subdivision. After the construction of the new Hanlon/Laird interchange and the new Laird Road, the centre portion of the existing Laird Road will be closed and restored to connect the wetlands on the north and south sides of the road.