PERTH - The Perth water treatment plant and The Stewart School will be feeling some pushback from the Tay River this spring.
And it’s all for a good cause.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) unveiled detailed plans at the Town of Perth committee-of-the-whole meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5 to green a patch of the banks of the Tay River.
The RVCA will cover between 75 to 100 per cent of all costs associated with greening the waterfront through grants, which are “open to any waterfront owner within the Rideau Valley watershed, who wants to green their waterfront,” explained Andrea Klymko, lake planning/shoreline stewardship program manger with the RVCA during her presentation.
The Perth water treatment plant shoreline naturalization project came together after aerial and field research in the area “identified (it) as a potential area,” said Klymko. “We gather all the monitoring data… we try to identify watershed areas,” in need of greening.
The area was also considered to be a prime area for greening since there was “minimal shoreline cover and proximity to the water intake,” area.
The land in question is owned by both the town and the Upper Canada District School Board, as it is also near The Stewart School.
The project will see about 1,600 natural trees and shrubs planted in the area. But another aspect of the plan will require absolutely no effort at all – just letting the area go through “land retirement,” essentially, banning the cutting of grass by town and board staff in some areas along the river to expand the existing buffer along the river, which Klymko said would improve water quality, stall erosion, and other benefits.
The RVCA has plans to work on a 15 metre green “buffer” from the water’s edge, but “at this point we could plant up to 30 metres with seedlings,” said Klymko. “We are going to be ensuring a grass pathway down there,” to ensure that people can still walk near the water’s edge and access the area.
“Fifteen metres is a nice, healthy buffer, but if we can get more, we will,” said Klymko. “But we are pretty flexibile.”
She also moved to allay fears that the buffer would impact the soccer fields and children’s play areas at the school.
“There will still be a significant path of open grass space,” said Klymko.
“I don’t know why land owners wouldn’t approve of beautification,” said Mayor John Fenik.
Grant Machan, the town’s director of environmental services, called the plan “a win-win extension.”