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June 10, 2024

Open Letter: Concerns over the proposed development of former Talisman Resort lands

Beaver Valley

OPEN LETTER — Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) is a national conservation charity that is science-based and volunteer-driven. Partners and volunteers are paramount to the numerous successful river restoration projects we implement every year. Our work protects and enhances water quality, water flow, and aquatic community health. TUC is proud of the critical role our organization has played in the protection of Canada’s natural resources for 50 years, and the value of this work to the lives of Canadians.

TUC has recently become aware of the proposed resort development on the former Talisman Resort lands in the Beaver River Valley. For 20 years, our organization has been working with local partners and landowners to help conserve the Beaver River and its tributaries. The Beaver Valley is one of the last relatively undeveloped areas in southern Ontario and its high quality coldwater fishery, large areas of intact forest, and beautiful vistas help make it a popular tourist destination for hiking, canoeing, flyfishing and other outdoor activities. We are writing to express our concerns about this proposed development.

Though our awareness of the proposed development of the Talisman Lands is recent, we have already identified some concerning issues that may put the future of the Beaver River at risk. In particular, we are concerned about the insufficient scope and scale of the hydrology study and whether it fully encompassed the potential influence on the entire watershed below the proposed development, especially in light of the presence and value of the adjacent Beaver Valley Lowlands Management Area. Major developments create large areas of impervious surfaces that have several hydrological impacts, including the prevention of groundwater infiltration and disruption to the movement of surface and groundwaters. TUC believes proper form and function of a landscape is critical to maintaining healthy ecosystem, not just of the river but the valley as a whole. A hydrology study of appropriate scale would help to better understand the implications of the development and potential impacts on groundwater, surface water quality and quantity, and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the area and downstream. Any large development must be properly understood in the context of environmental, human, and economic health of the valley, its rivers, wetlands, fish and people. An independent hydrology and hydrogeology study of the entire area could provide the information required to make informed decisions concerning the development, and implications for the local community and those downstream.

TUC has invested over $300,000 in money, resources, and personnel to monitor the health of the coldwater fish community and help conserve and enhance the high-quality environmental attributes of the Beaver River and valley. By our investments in the region, and through our mission to help conserve freshwater resources for current and future generations, TUC identifies as a concerned stakeholder in the development of the former Talisman Resort lands, and we request to be kept informed of how the municipality intends to ensure the protection of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and to be informed of future developments on this file.

Trout Unlimited Canada


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