On January 25, 2016 the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry revoked permit GU-C-002-12 under clause 17(7)(a)(iii) of the ESA. The project that originally received an overall benefit permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA with respect to Fowler’s Toad to construct a condominium along the Lake Erie shoreline in the Town of Fort Erie no longer applies. The proponent has informed the Minister that they will not be proceeding with the development.
On July 19, 2012 the Minister of Natural Resources issued an overall benefit permit to Molinaro Group Crystal Beach Waterfront Inc. under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA with respect to Fowler’s Toad in order to construct a condominium along the Lake Erie shoreline in the Town of Fort Erie, Ontario.
Reasonable alternatives to the proposal were considered, including alternatives that would not adversely affect the species. Alternatives considered included conducting the activity in an alternative location; using alternate methods, equipment, designs, etc for carrying out the proposed activity; and adjusting timelines to avoid species specific sensitivities (e.g., active periods for the species). The best alternative, which was adopted, included reducing the footprint of the condominium, using alternate methods, equipment, designs, etc for carrying out the proposed activity, as well as adjusting timelines to avoid species specific sensitivities. The location on Bay Beach was chosen for construction of the condominium as it is the only site on the beaches of the Town of Fort Erie that could support a development of this magnitude.
The permit requires Molinaro Group Crystal Beach Waterfront Inc. to undertake a number of measures to minimize adverse effects on individual members of Fowler’s Toad, which include:
o Construction timing windows to avoid sensitive periods for Fowler’s Toad;
o Toad-proof barrier fencing will be installed on the perimeter of the development site during construction;
o Nocturnal surveys will be conducted after the toad-proof barrier fencing is installed to ensure that no Fowler’s Toads are trapped within the construction area. Any individuals found will be moved out of the fenced area;
o Construction personnel will be educated on the significance of Fowler’s Toad and directed to call MNR if any individual toads are found during the construction period; and
o Educational signage will be installed to assist the public in avoiding activities that may unintentionally harm Fowler’s Toad.
The permit requires Molinaro Group Crystal Beach Waterfront Inc. to undertake a number of actions to achieve an overall benefit to Fowler’s Toad, within a reasonable time, including requirements to:
o Create a dune habitat designed for toad hibernation which consists of sand approximately 2 meters deep allowing toads to burrow down below the frost line. The created habitat will also consist of beach sand shaped into random low dunes, including large root wads with stumps attached to provide structure and provide daytime refugia during the active season;
o Plant dune grasses and appropriate native shrubs distributed in a fashion that simulates a natural dune;
o Create a boardwalk over Fowler’s Toad habitat to minimize public disturbance while providing cover and shade;
o Create sand mounds at a 3:1 slope to provide a transition area from the public beach to the protected dune habitat;
o Install rope fencing along the edge of the created habitat to discourage pedestrians and to clearly mark where beach grooming is not to occur;
o Construct a raised planter bed or decorative wall to prevent toads from traveling North onto adjacent road (Erie Road);
o Create a shorewall protection/revetment designed to provide Fowler’s Toad with additional habitat;
o Continually monitor and survey population abundance as well as monitor the enhancement sites to ensure habitat is maintained; and
o Install educational signage and brochure distribution to improve public awareness and appreciation of Fowler’s Toad.
A government response statement (GRS) has been published under subsection 11(8) of the ESA with respect to Fowler’s Toad; this statement can be accessed through the MNR Species at Risk website:
The proposed permit conditions align with multiple actions identified in the GRS such as:
• Undertake communications and outreach to increase public awareness of species at risk in Ontario;
• Beach management (e.g. actions related to barriers and beach grooming); and
• Deliver effective communications and outreach to key stakeholders and landowners within the range of Fowler’s Toad to increase awareness of the species’ distribution and threats, and to foster good stewardship.
Public consultation on the proposal for this ESA permit was provided for 37 days, from November 21, 2011 to December 28, 2011. 82 comments were received as well as a petition signed by 1608 members of the public in response to this Environmental Registry notice.
• MNR Guelph District staff reviewed the comments and determined that the majority of comments received were based on opposition to the proposed development and the perceived loss of public lands. Many of these comments expressed opposition to the development due to the possible impact on the toads. However, execution of the permit conditions will lead to an overall benefit for Fowler’s Toad and minimize the possible impacts on toads. There were also comments that identified changes that could be made to the project that will benefit the toads and those changes implemented where feasible. Changing some plant species which are to be planted in the toad enhancement area from ornamental to native varieties is an example of a change that was successfully executed.
Individuals who wish to view additional information on this overall benefit permit may visit the MNR Species at Risk website, where information about this permit will be updated periodically.