South Peace News
Several Peace River and area residents are proposing a conservation area be established to preserve a pristine area in the Peace River valley.
Wayne Thorp and Dave Walty attended Northern Sunrise County’s Feb. 8 meeting by Zoom to explain their case and ask the County to consider the request. Council referred the matter to administration for further study before making a decision.
Thorp did most of the speaking at the meeting. He first told council the area was beside the Three Creeks gravel pit – an area familiar to council.
“There is not much of this land left,” he said, adding his group would like to see 160 hectares preserved.
“A lot of people have been using it.”
In a document presented to council, the land is described as follows: “This area is very rare, forested gravel beach supporting thrifty mature white spruce, birch and lodgepole pine and protects an understory of carpet of green mosses, lichens and mushrooms dotted with squirrel middens. The area is also a critical over-wintering area providing thermal cover habitat for moose, elk and deer.”
Thorp added he once saw six moose standing in the spruce.
“They need this thermal cover.”
The canopy created by the spruce keeps snow from getting too deep.
Thorp noted people are using the area more and more. Coupled with potential development, they fear the site could be lost forever. A new plant is proposed for the area by Source Energy.
“We think there is a high risk of this area being lost,” said Thorp.
“We’re not trying to stop development but we want some measure of preservation,” he added.
And, he noted, preserving the area would be consistent with the County’s own Municipal Development Plan, which in part states, “Support and promote the County’s natura assets and tourism potential by protecting, promoting and enhancing its environmentally sensitive areas and open spaces.”
Thorp also asked council to consider:
- to make a minor investment into recreational development for an access to be constructed to link to the existing truck trail, a couple of small parking areas to be developed, each with a fire pit and table for day use only;
- Support for the establishment of designated trails for ATV use to protect the environmental values in the surrounding area;
- Support for keeping the conservation area in the long term “wildland state” with few facilities.
Thorp noted as residents, they cannot apply under the Public Lands Act for a recreation lease or a DML disposition.
Council had little to say after hearing the presentation.
“I’m a proponent for preserving areas. . .there has to be balance between resources and recreation,” said Marie Reine – Judah Councillor Dan Boisvert.