Here we have tried to compile the various documents and information about the threat to Penryn Woods.
We are updating this page regularly to share information as it becomes available.
The information and documents we share here are a combination of public documents and analysis from community stakeholders and our legal advisors.
The Penryn woodland must be preserved and protected from destruction. Here is a working summary of the concerns raised by the community regarding the proposal for Phase 5 and the planning process to-date.
We will update this section with pertinent information as we receive it including the pending heritage and environmental assessments and any further advice of legal counsel.
1. The Penryn Park Estate and the immediately adjacent Penryn Homestead, one of the oldest homes in Port Hope, were constructed by Commander John Tucker Williams. He was the first Mayor of Port Hope and represented Durham County in Parliament. The woodlot is the park in this cultural heritage landscape. It is an irreplaceable asset.
2. What needs protection? Not only the 907 trees identified in the consultant’s report but the cultural and natural heritage of the woodland park. There are 30 species of trees in the Penryn woodland, there are over identified 50 groundcover plants. Many trees are over 100 years of age; some are close to 200 years old. Local bird experts have compiled a list of 115 bird species that either use the Penryn woodland as habitat or use it as a migratory stopover. Species at risk have been identified in this habitat and it contains many complex interconnected ecosystems.
3. What does the woodland park add to Port Hope? As many of your newer constituents will tell you the cultural and natural heritage of Port Hope is a
major reason they chose to live here. Penryn Park is a landmark landscape for local residents and visitors alike. This application and site plan is not compatible with your strategic vision of Port Hope as, and I quote: “a unique, inclusive municipality focused on balanced growth, heritage preservation, an age-friendly community, and waterway enhancements”.
4. The Penryn woodland is a designated ‘significant’ woodland, and as such, municipal, county and provincial government policies agree it needs to be protected. We believe the applications are not complete and should be rejected because they contain serious inaccuracies in the checklist for meeting Provincial Policy. The Provincial Planning Statement under section 3 of the Planning Act has specific requirements for addressing significant woodlands, sensitive groundwater recharge areas, aquifers, cultural heritage landscapes and possible contaminated sites, all present within the site plan, but denied as existing by the applicant.
5. Natural Heritage Systems embedded in the Port Hope and Northumberland County Official Plans have identified this woodland as significant to our green infrastructure – in other words the woodland serves an important function in the Municipality – like the sewer or road systems. The loss of woodlands such as the Penryn woodland threatens our watersheds. Trees help to prevent flooding, soil erosion, and contamination of waterways from run-off. In addition, they help to store water in the soil, stabilize shorelines, slow down evaporation, and absorb pollutants. And yet, the 2018 reports from Ontario’s conservation authorities show that more than half of southern Ontario’s watersheds had 25 percent or less forest cover, and more than one-third had 15 percent or less. Between the years 2000 and 2011, over 7,000 ha of forested land in Southern Ontario was deforested, at an average of 590 ha per year. One third of forest loss was related to urban development. That loss has increased.
6. Climate change is affecting Port Hope now and as everyone is aware, trees are our friendly warriors fighting for our future. Trees assist in carbon capture and sequestration. On a tree by tree basis 100 year old mature trees absorb much more carbon than a youngster can. Therefore removing old growth forests and replacing them with saplings is not a valid option when everyone is aware of the need to help mitigate the impacts of climate change.
7. There is no mitigation for the loss of an entire woodland; especially a woodland with trees and all of its functioning ecosystems well over a century old. The assertion in the application that any wildlife that survives the clearing of the woodland will simply use the golf course as a migratory route to somewhere else is ludicrous.
8. There is a growing body of evidence that woodlands provide a number of social benefits as well as economic and environmental benefits. These include mental and physical health as well as cultural and social benefits. These benefits will be lost with the loss of the Penryn woodland. The local environment's quality is a vital factor in health, wellbeing and quality of life. The quality of the urban environment and the wider landscape and countryside in which it sits has an effect, even though we may not realise it. The cleanliness of our water, the air and the character of our neighbourhoods are important to our health and trees play an important part in maintaining all of these qualities. This too will be lost with the loss of the woodland.
9. Each Port Hope Council meeting starts with the statement. "We acknowledge that this meeting is being held on the traditional territory of the Mississauga Nations." Thus far, we have seen no evidence of consultation with indigenous peoples despite the importance of this consultation under the Provincial Policy Statement –“…shall consider the interests of Aboriginal communities in conserving cultural heritage and archaeological resources and implemented in a way consistent with Aboriginal and treaty rights”.
10.Port Hope’s Official Plan is to provide a framework for the physical development of the Municipality over a 20-year period, while taking into consideration important social, economic and environmental matters. Council is not obligated by the former OMB rulings (from 2004) to amend the Official Plan or the zoning bylaw. In fact, it is those previous orders which created the zoning and official plan designations now governing all the Penryn.
COMMUNITY UPDATE - INTERIM CONTROL BYLAW/LPAT - MAY 14 2021
NOTES FROM ZOOM MEETING WITH MAYOR BOB SANDERSON - APRIL 14 2021
URBAN PLANNER KEN GREENBERG’S REPORT ON PHASE 5 AND PORT HOPE’S FUTURE:
LPAT NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE BY VIDEO:
PHASE 5 PLANNING APPLICATION:
2005 AON SUBDIVISION CONTRACT APPROVED BY OMB: