Vernon council to vote on heronry protections tonight - InfoNews

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Vernon council to vote on heronry protections tonight

Great blue herons.
September 14, 2020 - 2:05 PM

A Vernon construction company planning to redevelop the site adjacent to a decades-old heron rookery will have another shot at getting environmental restrictions removed at a public hearing tonight.

This evening, Sept. 14, Vernon council will decide whether to approve the rezoning of the 20 Street site, without the conditions it previously imposed in July 2019. A staff report recommends council leave the restrictions in place.

The birds are considered an at-risk species and have been nesting at the site for more than 30 years.

The file dates back to July 2019 when Vernon council approved the rezoning of a lot adjacent to the heronry, but on the condition a covenant was registered which imposed certain restrictions during construction to ensure the protection of the blue heron rookery.

What those restrictions entail is somewhat unclear, although mainly centre around the distance from the proposed development to the heronry.

Initially, during the first public hearing, it was thought the heronry sat within 100 metres of the new development. However, the developer, Scotland Constructors, later submitted another environmental report showing the site was more than 100-metres away from the heronry. However, the staff report states provincial guidelines recommend a 200-metre "no disturbance" buffer from Feb. 1 to Aug. 15 during the nesting season.

READ MORE: iN PHOTOS: Vernon heronry protector worried for at-risk birds after development approval

In May, Vernon council rejected removing the environmental covenant after Scotland Constructors applied to have it waived. However later that month, councillor Dalvir Nahal put forward a motion to revisit the developer's request, which ultimately led to the second public hearing taking place this evening.

The site is currently zoned for a single-family home and the developer wishes to have that changed to allow for a multi-family development for up to 41 units.

The public hearing takes place at the Vernon Recreation Centre at 5:30 p.m., today, Sept. 14.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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