A beaver lodge can be seen in one of two ponds along the Log Train Trail near what is known as the Burde Street Beaver Ponds. A group of Port Alberni residents is concerned that development in the area will compromise habitat in the wetlands. (PHOTO COURTESY SANDY MCRUER)

A beaver lodge can be seen in one of two ponds along the Log Train Trail near what is known as the Burde Street Beaver Ponds. A group of Port Alberni residents is concerned that development in the area will compromise habitat in the wetlands. (PHOTO COURTESY SANDY MCRUER)

LETTER: Port Alberni beaver ponds in danger from proposed development

The Burde Street ponds are under threat from a proposed massive housing development…

To the Editor,

Re: San Group unveils $1.1-billion housing plan, Sept. 1, 2021

The Burde Street ponds are under threat from a proposed massive housing development.

The two ponds are centrepieces of a rich, complex wetland ecosystem, a biodiversity hotspot second only to the Somass Estuary.

In addition to the resident beaver and occasional otter, the ponds are home to an abundance of animals and plants, including more than 100 species of birds.

The ponds are recharged by winter rains and runoff from an adjacent forested catchment area to the north and east.

These turbulent inflows provide vital oxygenated water to the ponds. If this woodland is cleared and culverted, the ponds will become stagnant, fetid impoundments and eventually dry up. Outflow from the ponds in winter and spring passes under the Log Train Trail and winds through healthy second-growth forest (also on the chopping block) to eventually connect with Roger Creek, supplying it with essential water and nutrients needed by fish and other aquatic and riparian life.

These unique and magnificent ponds and the surrounding watershed should be preserved intact to become the city’s first nature park, and managed and nurtured for the benefit of all creatures, human and otherwise, for generations to come.

Educational, recreational and nature-tourism opportunities would abound.

Residents of Port Alberni, you all have a say about the future of our city.

Will it be a depauperate future of high-density housing, congestion, loss of amenity, and continuing boom-and bust, or will it be a sustainable future where we build sensibly, cherish nature and preserve our remaining green and blue spaces, not the least of which are the Burde Street ponds?

Daryl Henderson,

Port Alberni

Editor’s note: Daryl Henderson has a PhD in Genetics and a longstanding interest in conservation biology.

NaturePort Alberni