A great blue heron catches some rays on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, March 18, as it treks slowly along the still-frozen waters of Cools Pond in the BX. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Vernon naturalists’ club seeks support for herony

Club asks people to email mayor and council before rookery protection item returns to agenda

The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club in Vernon is asking residents to speak up on behalf of the herony on 20th Street.

In its newsletter, it asks people to email mayor and council and encourage them to commit to protect the herony after council voted to reconsider its decision to maintain a covenant protecting the site during the May 25 meeting.

Councillors first decided to maintain the environmental covenant May 11 after developer Scotland Constructors presented its own environmental impact study.

Councillors primarily voted in favour to avoid going to another public hearing which would likely further delay the neighbouring project.

The 20th Street property was rezoned July 8, 2019, to accommodate a residential project, but a restrictive covenant was registered to the title to protect the adjacent rookery.

The conditions limit construction during the heron’s spring-summer nesting season and put a 100-metre noise sensitivity buffer into effect, as advised by an environmental consultant.

Following the developer’s land survey, it wrote to council before the May 11 meeting requesting restrictions be waived as the proposed project is outside the 100-metre noise buffer zone.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal proposed council reconsider the covenant during the May 25 meeting with Mayor Victor Cumming voting against her request for re-visitation.

The item is to come before council again during the meeting Monday, June 8, and the naturalists’ club is asking its members and the public to email mayor and council.

“State that you want the herons and herony protected; you want council to hold firm in requiring a restrictive covenant on the Scotland Constructors title and 5000 – 20th Street,” the newsletter said.

On April 30, no trespassing signs were installed around the annual nesting site of the Great Blue Herons on the north end of 20th Street.

Vernon Heronry Protection Society’s Rita Bos said an interpretive sign was installed as well for visitors to learn more about the at-risk species.

READ MORE: Restrictions still apply to Vernon heron rookery

READ MORE: Curbside reads available as Okanagan libraries reopen


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