Enforcement leads to nature reserve land swap

A cabin owner illegally built a cabin within a conservation reserve. The owner was charged. As part of plea negotiations, the cabin owner proposes a substantial land exchange with the MNR: 40 hectares of new land for the 0.13 where the cabin now stands. MNR now plans to amend the conservation reserve regulation to allow the swap, which will increase the protected Provincially Significant Wetland.

Louck Lake Wetland Conservation Reserve is a 265 hectares (ha) conservation reserve located in central Ontario about 50 km south of North Bay. It protects a large portion of the Louck Lake Provincially Significant Wetland. Wetlands are extremely important ecological features, severely threatened by rampant “development”.

An unauthorized cabin was built within the conservation reserve on Lot 4, Concession 7, Laurier Township. As the occupation is contrary to the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006, the cabin owner was charged with this offence.

As part of the legal negotiations, the presumably remorseful cabin owner proposed a land exchange with the Ministry of Natural Resources as part of his penalty. The exchange would transfer 40 ha of his adjacent private property including 24 ha of provincially significant wetland, to the Ministry in exchange for 0.13 ha of the (now damaged) conservation reserve land on which the illegally constructed cabin is located. Since approximately 60 per cent of the 40 hectares of acquired lands contains provincially significant wetland, this significant addition would further the protection of provincially significant elements of Ontario’s natural heritage and maintain ecological integrity consistent with the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006.

The proposed Amendment to the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas in order to facilitate a land exchange that will resolve an unauthorized occupation within the Louck Lake Wetland Conservation Reserve (C73) – Amendment #2012-010, is posted as EBR Registry Number 011-8881. Public comments may be made.

It reminds me of a similar case in Bruce National Park, years ago…