Nature and wildlife enthusiast presses council for answers

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local resident and wildlife enthusiast returned to town council at its most recent meeting and pressed elected officials to try and do more to protect an area of the Big Creek watershed.

Greg Nemeth wants town council to take a greater role in protecting the area north of Alma St., with Nemeth showing the vast number of species he has photographed in that area. His delegation was slow to get off the ground, after a brief dispute with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo over the time he was going to be permitted. Nemeth believed the area was worthy of being a provincial park and that he was trying to help protect the habitat of the area “and you can’t give me five minutes,” he told DiCarlo, believing his delegation would take slightly longer than the five minutes DiCarlo was providing.

DiCarlo said the town has shown support for Nemeth and his requests. Once the time constraint issue was put behind them, Nemeth told council his belief that more should be done.

“If this area is done up right, this area could attract more people than Navy Yard Park,” he said.

Greg Nemeth addresses town council about the Big Creek watershed area north of Alma St. He wants additional protection given to the land noting the rare species that use the area.

Greg Nemeth addresses town council about the Big Creek watershed area north of Alma St. He wants additional protection given to the land noting the rare species that use the area.

Nemeth said it is an extremely important natural area and that more needs to be done to take care of it but DiCarlo said the town simply doesn’t have the jurisdiction to do what Nemeth was asking. Much of the land in question is privately owned and CAO John Miceli said it would either have to be purchased or expropriated to do what Nemeth is asking.

The mayor believed it to be a matter that the province should be looking at but Nemeth argued that a recommendation from council would go a long way.

“You guys have power. You don’t want to do it,” said Nemeth, with DiCarlo disagreeing with his statement.

“Do it, take the initiative,” Nemeth pressed, adding it wasn’t about him, but it was about saving the wildlife in that area.

Councillor Rick Fryer, who is the chair of the Essex Region Conservation Authority, said Nemeth needs to give his information to provincial agencies, adding it takes a long time to get ministries together. Miceli commented there is the potential for a meeting with the Ministry of Natural Resources in April, a meeting that would be eight months in the making.

DiCarlo thanked Nemeth for his passion and confirmed administration is actively trying to get a meeting with provincial officials.

Council agreed to allow Miceli to take a walk with Nemeth through the area and discuss their ideas further.

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