A group of citizens concerned with protecting the Burde Street Beaver Ponds will hold a town hall on Monday, May 16 to discuss proposed development around the ponds.
The group formed last year after San Group announced its intent to build a planned community on property it purchased on upper Burde Street in Port Alberni. San Group officials said at the time they envision close to 3,000 homes in varying densities. The 73-acre property in question surrounds the beaver ponds.
No development plan for Pacific Mayfair Estates had been submitted to the city as of late March.
A number of people are concerned about the threat to the popular walking area surrounding the ponds, which includes part of the Alberni Valley-wide Log Train Trail. “These two ponds are the largest of four that exist within the city limits. All are surrounded by forest,” says Sandy McRuer, spokesperson for Friends of the Burde Street Beaver Ponds.
“Despite the critical state of housing in the community…we oppose the project as it is currently proposed,” McRuer said. “The ponds have very high environmental values, and recreational values, including the impact on a critically endangered salmon population, and red-listed wildlife species.”
Concerns about a high-density development go beyond ecological, he added. People have voiced concerns about increased traffic, increased pressure on city sewer and water capacity, and the distance from such things as schools, shopping and social services. McRuer said more than 770 people have signed a petition opposing development around the beaver ponds.
The Friends of the Burde Street Beaver Ponds have organized the town hall meeting in an attempt to discuss fish and wildlife constraints on development, what can be done under current legislation, and what infrastructure needs a large development would require.
McRuer said invitations have been extended to San Group representatives as well as city council. Members of the public are welcome to attend and voice their expectations for the property around the beaver ponds.
The town hall is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. upstairs at the Alberni Athletic Hall, 3727 Roger St. The public is welcome to attend.For more information, refer to the Friends of the Burde Street Beaver Ponds Facebook page.