Cambridge seeks construction halt near reputed bald eagle habitat

The City of Cambridge has taken legal steps to postpone work by a new homes developer because the construction is taking place near an area where bald eagles have been previously sighted.

Builder agreed to halt work on new homes after Nov. 15 but construction continued, city alleges

A bald eagle spotted in Waterloo Region in January 2015. (Submitted by Mike Burrell)

The City of Cambridge will be taking a developer to court next week to halt construction in part of a new subdivision where bald eagles have been known to roost.

Brookpoint Estates is a new subdivision going into Preston, located south of the 401, north of Fountain Street and is bounded by the Grand River on the west side.

As part of a subdivision agreement with the city, the developer agreed there would be no new home construction and no heavy machinery used on the west side of the former Limerick Road between Nov. 15, 2015 and March 31, 2016, the city says.

That is because bald eagles are known to frequent the area.

Bald eagles are listed as being a species of "special concern" in Ontario, meaning they may become threatened or endangered if precautions are not taken to avoid threats against them.

"The bald eagle habitat was an important issue that needed to be addressed," Cambridge's director of policy planning Elaine Brunn Shaw told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Friday.

"When it became apparent that the construction was not going to stop, we had to take steps to enforce the subdivision agreement and the way we do that is through the courts."

In court Feb. 26

The city talked to the developer in November and sent two cease-and-desist letters – one in mid-December and a second one Dec. 24.

In January the city filed for a temporary injunction to get work to stop, which was granted Feb. 5.

Now, the city and the developer will be in court again Feb. 26 for a full injunction for work to stop until March 31.

The Brookpoint Estates subdivision is being built in Cambridge. (Google Maps)

If the developer does not comply, Brunn Shaw said then it becomes a legal matter. But she hopes it doesn't come to that.

"We are hoping the developer will comply and not start construction again until after March 31," she said.

Brunn Shaw noted construction is allowed to continue on the east side of former Limerick Road, which is part of the same development.

Developer says they will comply

CBC News asked Mike Riccardi of Concord, Ont.-based Fernbrook Homes, which controls the development of Brookpoint Estates, to comment on why construction did not stop Nov. 15.

An emailed reply stated: "Brookpoint Estates has been in communication with the city and agencies on the implementation of the city subdivision agreement over the past several months. We have been in recent discussions with the city and are committed to complying with the requirements of the subdivision agreement and the recent court injunction. Brookpoint will continue to work cooperatively with the city in moving forward with the completion of the development of the plan of subdivision."

The site plan for the Brookpoint Estates subdivision in Cambridge. (Brookpoint Estates/Fernbrook Homes)


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