The Mayor is no doubt aware of the concerns of local enviromental and conservation groups. More than one letter of protest has been sent to Mayor and Council regarding this proposed sale. The Mayor also ought to be aware of the Enviromental Sensitive Areas report done for the Township in 1993 that classifies both sets of properties as being ESA 1 -the highest sensitivity rating assigned in the report. In addition more than one environmental assessment has been done concerning the Gray Pit Forest
We are talking about issues regarding the local aquifer,wildlife habitat and biodiversity. For the Mayor to fail to acknowledge these ecological issues is dissapointing. To characterize the properties as having some trees that happen to be beautiful is to miss the point. A forest to survive as such must be left intact as it's very own little ecosystem. To frame the issue as one of balancing recreational needs versus financial considerations is also to miss the point. Yes local residents walk and ride horse on the property and would like to continue to do so but they believe that such a rare gem ought to be preserved not just for recreation but because something of the wilderness that once dominated the Fraser Valley should continue to exist untrammeled by the caprice of humans.
At this time it is unclear whether any conservation groups will speak at the public Council meeting next Monday. Since the Township has ignored the written words of conservation groups it would be well if Council would indeed defer any decision until July 23 so that they might hear the voices of conservation group representatives in a public setting.
Here is the link http://www.cbc.ca/player/