Stream restoration in Shining Hill development on Newmarket-Aurora border to create 'extensive habitats'
But many Newmarket residents furious with proposed development on Oak Ridges Moraine
Residents on the border of Newmarket and Aurora will soon see construction begin on Phase 2 of the 90-home Shining Hill development on the boundary of the two communities.
Starting in the next couple of weeks, work will begin with the restoration of a stream running through the property, the Town of Aurora said in a statement Feb. 19.
Several trees will be cut down, but the restoration will create “new and extensive habitats” for plant and animal life in the area, it said.
The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority has approved restoration plans for the stream, which had been previously converted to man-made ponds, the town said.
“While the work will require the removal of several trees in the area, the restoration efforts will enhance the flora and fauna, provide the perfect habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species and will remove a barrier to fish habitat,” the statement said.
“The creation of a meander belt and wetland will provide vegetation for fish to spawn and will re-create natural habitat for amphibians and turtles, replicating natural stream functions, if left untouched over time.”
Stream restoration will begin by the end of February, when the water flow is lower and the ground firmer, ensuring easier conditions for work, and is expected to wrap up in April.
Eventually, the town will take ownership and assume responsibility for maintenance of the stream.
Ultimately, Shining Hill plans to build “a master community” on 400 acres around the Aurora-Newmarket border.
At a January meeting, many Newmarket residents slammed the developer’s proposal to build on the Oak Ridges Moraine north of St. John’s between Yonge and Bathurst streets, with one calling it a "travesty."
While Shining Hill consultant Don Given said the Newmarket proposal has the potential to be a great community and is not a threat to the environment, several residents and environmentalists criticized the plan.
On its website, the company says its proposed vision for Shining Hill goes beyond houses to include soccer fields and tennis courts, parklands, woodlands and trails.
“Beautiful boulevards with commerce and services will form dramatic entrances to the community, retirement homes and large estates will fill out to complete the picture,” it said.