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‘Nature 360 should never be built’

May 3rd,2023 | Valley Voices

By Henny Coates

For a few moments upon reading this headline, “Cantley rejects Nature 360 over environmental concerns,” (April 19 edition) I believed that this atrocious project would not proceed. My hopes were dashed as I read the article. This project has not been rejected, only postponed until the developer can make it appear less destructive and harmful.

He claims that he wants to be environmentally friendly. But if this is indeed the case, he should cancel the project and leave [it] intact — this last remaining untouched forest habitat. It is not possible to build 500 homes and the required infrastructure without doing irreparable harm to the forest ecosystem. To claim otherwise is deeply dishonest.

This forest is home to a number of endangered species, which ought to be a compelling enough reason to preserve it. Sadly, this is not the case, despite the fact that we are in the midst of both a climate and biodiversity crisis. Habitat loss is a major driver of both of these. Where does it end?

The climate impact of this project will be significant. The construction and development industries are responsible for approximately 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. House construction is incredibly wasteful and unsustainable, exacerbated even further by the excessive size of new homes.

Furthermore, the inevitable construction noise, a significant form of pollution in its own right, will have a deleterious effect on the many creatures who rely on sound for communication and finding food. We are not the only species who experience stress from exposure to noise.

As Mayor Gomes had the courage to state: “This forest is very important and it has never been touched by anyone.” Nature 360, or more accurately Destroying Nature 360 (have you noticed that property developers love naming their projects after the thing(s) that they then destroy?), should never be built. That forest and its inhabitants deserve our protection and respect.

Henny Coates is a resident of Chelsea, QC.

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