By Kirk Starratt
The Friends of the Kentville Ravine aren’t opposed to development, but they want to see steps taken to protect an ecologically sensitive area.
The society recently made a presentation to the New Minas Village Commission. Society spokesperson Peter Hicklenton said the objective was to share information on the potential risks to the ravine system posed by new development at Highway 101 Exit 12 in New Minas, particularly those associated with the recent acquisition of land by Kent Building Supplies.
The society believes care must be exercised in the development of the new Kent store. Hicklenton said the entire Elderkin Brook watershed could be at risk unless there is a clear understanding of the ecosystem’s fragility.
The society has presented a proposal to county council that would see greater protection for the ravine lands.
“We have emphasized the need for partnerships to work towards a sustainable future for the ravine that can be realized in concert with the needs of businesses in Kings County,” Hicklenton said.
Potential stakeholder partners could include Kent’s parent company, Irving, Kentville, County of Kings, New Minas and citizens.
Hicklenton said they had several comments on their presentation from village commissioners. One member saw the Kent store as a good development that would enhance protection. There was also a suggestion to rename the ravine to eliminate the town name.
Commissioners also inquired about a proposal to mitigate the effects of excessive storm water run-off from impermeable surfaces in the Exit 12 area and commented on the current marshy state of the meadow south of Highway 1, where Elderkin Brook makes its way to the Cornwallis River.
The society’s proposal supports commercial development on land required for a building supplies store at Exit 12. However, they want to see additional cleared land, about 23 acres, reserved for tourism, recreational or educational use. The society also wants to see a privately-owned forest purchased to act as a buffer to protect the ravine system.
As part of a larger vision, they want to see a working group established to plan strategy for the conservation of the ravine and the associated watershed. The society supports a comprehensive Elderkin Brook watershed evaluation to inform future development decisions.
The society also encourages the rehabilitation of existing paved areas to improve water infiltration and reduce storm water flow. They are asking for a collaboration among the stakeholders to support a Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund application to assist with the purchase of land, rehabilitation and conservation.