I’m Cheryl Anderson, and I am here this evening representing the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. PEPtBO is a registered charity with the mandate to monitor, report on and promote analysis of bird migration and to act as official caretaker of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area or IBA.
The IBA Program is an international, science-based program with a specific aim: to identify, conserve, and monitor a network of sites that provide essential habitat for bird populations.
Our IBA is Globally Significant for Congregatory Species and Waterfowl Concentrations, and Nationally Significant for Colonial Waterbird/Seabird Concentrations. In addition,41 species at risk have been identified as migrating through, living in or breeding in the South Shore – not only birds, but amphibians, fish, plants and reptiles, as well.
I am going to share my screen to show you the area covered by the IBA. As you will see, the line defining the IBA skirts the edge of Soup Harbour and touches lightly on the shore at the place where the Provincially Significant Wetland empties into Soup Harbour.
We often explain the importance of the South Shore IBA as providing a refuge for migrating birds during migration. Both in the spring and fall the South Shore is an area of rest and refueling for migrating birds. Research by Birds Canada shows that birds forage over an area up to 30 km distant from their initial touchdown point. Birds do not know about the IBA border.
The shoreline of the west side of Soup Harbour is a very attractive and much visited touchdown site for migrating birds. The trailer site will open from May to November, during the spring and fall peak migration period and throughout the breeding season.
A trailer site of this size could support a population of up to 1,200 people and this population will be concentrated on the shoreline. More people mean more traffic, more disturbance, more use of pesticides, more smoke and noise. All of these changes will have a negative impact on birds as well as other wildlife. Specifically, the increased use of watercraft will affect directly the shorebirds and water birds using Soup Harbour.
Development of this site as proposed will remove precious habitat which is used by migrating birds both in the spring and fall and fragment the habitat that is left. The South Shore of Prince Edward County, including the shore of Soup Harbour is the last undeveloped piece of land on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Every bit of it cries for measures to protect it.
Further development will crowd out the very creatures and landscapes that support the health of the planet. I urge Council to give further thought to these implications and consequences.