Chicopee Hills school gets green light, no Blanding's Turtles found on site

Construction can go ahead as planned after a field survey did not turn up any sign of the threatened Blanding's turtle living near the future site of Chicopee Hills Public School.

Staff report says work is moving forward on Chicopee Hills Public School

A Blanding's turtle is distinguished by its bright yellow chin and throat. Staff at the Waterloo Region District School Board say a field survey has not turned up any turtles at the future site of the Chicopee Hills Public School. (CBC)

A field survey at the future site of Chicopee Hills Public School has revealed no evidence of the threatened Blanding's turtle, and construction will  proceed as planned, public school board staff say.

In 2014, someone reported spotting a Blanding's turtle near the future site of the school near Lackner Boulevard and Fairway Road North.

The Blanding's turtle is considered a threatened species in Ontario and has been nicknamed the "smiling turtle" because yellow markings around its neck and mouth make it appears to have a grin.

A staff report, presented to a Waterloo Region District School Board special committee of the whole budget meeting Monday evening, said a field survey was completed this spring "and no Blanding's turtles were found" at the Chicopee Hills site. 

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has accepted the school board's consultant's report and now staff can move forward with construction.

The kindergarten to Grade 8 school is expected to be open in Sept. 2017.