Herons threatened: petition

Area groups are organizing to protest a proposed apartment complex on 20th Street in Vernon that they say threatens key heron habitat.

A bylaw to rezone the land is scheduled to go before a public hearing on Monday at Vernon council chambers at 5:30 p.m.

The Friends of Animals Vernon posted to Facebook over the weekend to highlight the proposed construction project at 5000 20th Street, the property adjacent to the heron nesting grounds.

They also launched an online petition.

Shasta Daisy said that Rita Bos, a senior director for the Vernon Heronry Protection Society, is desperate for the city to reconsider the plan.

"Our first project is to assist Rita," Daisy said. "She and her late husband spent years advocating for the protection of a tiny piece of land where the blue herons nest."

There is an application by Scotland Constructors Ltd. to build apartments in the area.

"The area is a protected bird sanctuary where other wildlife, including deer also rest within the city," Daisy said.

According to the Vernon Heronry Protection Society, a registered restrictive covenant was agreed upon by the Regional District of the North Okanagan in July of 1992.

"Should you deem your interest in property affected by the subject application, it would be to your advantage to attend the public hearing at which time you will be permitted to outline your concerns for the information of counsel," the City of Vernon said in their public hearing document.

If you are unable to attend, you may appoint an agent to act on your behalf, or a written or email [email protected] submission is acceptable provided it is in the hands of the corporate officer prior to the hearing, the city stated.

Submissions received after 3 p.m. on Monday, July 8, related to the rezoning application will not be accepted, the city said. Correspondence and emails must include your name and civic address. No submissions related to the rezoning application will be received by council following conclusion of the official public hearing.

"I just spoke to Rita Bos, Senior Director of the Vernon Heronry Society. She has some health issues and is trying her hardest to keep this momentum going, but is struggling with her eyesight," Daisy said in an update on Sunday.

"We are providing actual, fact-based information so that the City of Vernon/Scotland Constructors Ltd. can make rational, responsible decisions in regards to protecting the Great Blue Heron Sanctuary," Bos said in a statement.

The hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in council chambers on Monday and is open to the public.

Castanet will be covering the council meeting and the hearing.

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