Let’s Talk Some More About the Burde Street Beaver Ponds

The post about the Beaver Ponds received a surprising about of attention; 2,500 views in 2 days and several requests to keep people informed. So I thought I would follow up with another post to do just that.

First I tried to find out who owns the property. After paying a small fee, I got a BC Company Summary that told me that a numbered company owned it, and that the last annual report was last June 1st.  It also gave a street address on Argyle St. It did name a local realtor as director though. So I went to see him. I found out that the information for that company is out of date, he is still a director, but not the one that should be listed and that the property was sold recently.

I also spoke with Scott Smith, the Director of Development Services. He said that he had not received any development proposals for this property. I took that to be a good sign in that nothing will happen on the property until it is approved by the city. A property cannot be developed and built on until there is a Building Permit in place. And a Building Permit cannot be issued until there a Development Permit is in Place. Currently, in the Official Community Plan (OCP), there is no Development Permit over this property.  So nothing will be built without going through City Hall. Before any construction a change to the OCP, is required.

So that means any suspicious looking company with only a number for its name will not be showing up unannounced and clearing the land. The City is involved. And there is a process that insures that the public has a say.

Also, Smith reports that “the City of Port Alberni has not received any development application for the property.”  Informally talks may be going on. Although that is pure speculation, I’d imagine that it would have to occur in the process of creating an application that meets all the requirements set down in law, and the provincial regulations and City bylaws. That’s normal.

Smith also reports that they are well aware of the issues. They have been getting calls from people.

So maintaining the diversity and the ambience of the place comes down to applying the regulations and biological opinions of professionals in an appropriate way. Of all the creatures in and around the ponds the Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii ~ Pacific coast population) is the one of most concern because it is listed as a Species At Risk under the federal Species at Risk Act.  The City of Nanaimo has had previous experience with Western Painted Turtles and have directed a developer to modify their project near Buttertubs Marsh.

As everyone beavers are also present in the ponds. Because of that consideration must be given to  the amount of habitat that is available for foraging and maintaining their lodges and dams as well as maintaining a wildlife corridor for them to travel to other  populations.

There are nesting Mallards Wood Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers that nest in the area. I have seen a female Wood Duck entering and leaving a certain hole in a dead Douglas fir on the lower pond. However as long as there enough pond life the Wood Ducks and mergansers can get by if nest boxes are provided.

So at this point we just have to see what is proposed, when the application shows up at the City. Then we will see what measures are proposed to account for the concerns we all have and we will also see who the owner(s) of the property is.

Some background material:

3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Some More About the Burde Street Beaver Ponds

  1. Hi Sandy.
    Have you heard anything new about the Beaver Ponds? I have heard rumours of orange tape marking trees and such. But mainly I wanted to draw your attention to this Policy in the OCP which I was not aware of until recently. (It refers to “Redford Ponds” but I am 99% sure the Beaver Ponds are the same things).
    Page 24 https://www.portalberni.ca/sites/default/files/users/cfoden/OCP-Final-2007-WithMapsSmaller.pdf
    “ 5. Redford Ponds and tributaries and similar environmentally sensitive areas comprise significant wildlife habitat and shall be subject to habitat protection policies as determined through detailed environmental analysis.”

    I do not know of any specific “habitat protection policies” that the City may have regarding the ponds, nor have I heard of any environmental analysis ever being done. This might be something we should get the City to do to act as a regulatory buffer to any future development that might put the ponds in jeopardy.



    1. Hi Chris,
      Every once in a while i call up Scott Smith and ask if there have been any applications pertinent to those properties. So far i have only received a brief negative answer without any details. Whether there have been meetings with a developer or not, he did not volunteer nor did I ask.
      I also walked a large portion of the ribbon boundary. It appears to keep 30 meters or so away from Burde Street and from the ponds, But there is a very narrow strip between the two ponds that is beyond that 30-meter buffer.
      As an aside, i have noticed that the waterfowl tend to stay to the parts of the pond that are remote to human access. However a trail has appeared on the far side of the upper pond. This year it has become a lot more trampled and obvious. So now there is really nowhere for the birds to go and feel safe.
      I’ve seen people taking there dogs for a swim there and in the lower pond too. This is guaranteed to keep waterfowl away. Sigh.


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