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PenEquity Woodland Update

A 4.2 hectare significant woodland at Wellington and the 401 has lost its protection. By a vote of 10-5, City Council voted on August 27 to remove the woodland from Schedule B, thus removing protection of the woodland.

The motion that passed prescribed several conditions before the woodland could be removed. One condition requires the developer to receive permits from UTRCA, and another requires compensation for the lost woodland. However, the end result is that contrary to our own Official Plan, Council has voted to remove protections of this woodland. The table below show how each councillor voted.

What's next? There are no more public meetings around this issue. Development can proceed when the conditions are met, and this timetable is unclear.

We have assembled more information on this issue, including maps, photos, news reports and blogs, and other comments. Please read our background information.

Voted to Protect Woodland
Voted to Remove Protection of Woodland

Joni Baechler

Nancy Branscombe

Denise Brown

Judy Bryant

Harold Usher


Bill Armstrong

Matt Brown

Dale Henderson

Paul Hubert

Joe Fontana

Stephen Orser

Bud Polhill

Joe Swan

Paul van Meerbergen

Sandy White

What Can We Do Now?

There are three actions you can take:

You can send a note of thanks or of disappointment to your councillor.

You can ask the Province of Ontario to intervene and uphold Provincial woodland protection requirements.

All Ontario municipalities are bound to comply with the Provincial Policy Statement which dictates "no development is permitted within Significant woodlands or significant wetlands." The City of London has approved the removal of a Significant woodland to allow this development proposal. 

Because the issue at hand is a woodland, the mechanism for the Province to intervene in a municipal decision is via the Ministry of Natural Resources. MNR must request the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to take interest in the decision.  A citizen's means of participating is by writing to MNR and copying MMAH.  A London citizen has already launched an appeal to MNR and has prepared a sample letter along with the email contacts for both MNR and MMAH and can be found here. The deadline for the Province to intervene is Sept 25th.

You can express support for the local Conservation Authority.
The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) is considering appealing Council’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.  Additionally, UTRCA must issue a permit before construction can begin, based on the adequate protection of the wetland. 

The UTRCA has jurisdiction over wetlands and the City of London has jurisdiction over significant woodlands.  Provincial Policy Statement mandates no development is permitted in significant woodlands or significant wetlands.

The manner in which this development application has proceeded has put UTRCA in a difficult position.  If regular approval process had been followed, the environmental issues would have been finalized and Council would have had the full and complete information in front of it, including conclusions of UTRCA, before a decision was reached. Currently, the evaluation and protection measures of the wetland is not finalized.

You may consider expressing your support for the role UTRCA plays in our community by writing to their Board, via General Manager Ian Wilcox, and asking for your letter to be included in their next Board meeting agenda.  UTRCA mailing and email addresses are here.