Metrolinx orders one suburban lake drained to prevent damage to subways

A southeast Metro commuter county, Ontario, has been ordered to drain a popular pond to deter the local beavers — “beloved” local residents with a penchant for destroying traffic. And rather than worry about the damage they’re causing, residents are either looking to the beavers or shrugging, crossing paths and taking pictures.

The pond is just one of four Metrolinx Beavers Pond Reservoirs, part of an initiative to connect Toronto’s subway lines to each other, to light rail transit stations along those lines, as well as to Lake Ontario. According to CBC News, the ponds are only planned for Toronto and the surrounding area. The pond in Essex County has been home to the city’s largest population of beavers in 50 years. According to CBC News, “up to 50 pups have been born in the last year,” but the beavers have also caused considerable problems, including disrupting traffic along Elliott Bay Road.

The Windsor Star reports that the Essex County Conservation Authority voted to have the park drained, as they have other Beavers Pond Reservoirs in the county, including one next to Highway 401. CBC News reports that the Windsor-Essex Conservation Authority and the Essex County Conservation Authority asked to meet with Metrolinx, which agreed to meet with both groups.

Meanwhile, the Windsor Star reports that “one of the region’s most vocal supporters of the beavers is Bill Scott, owner of a meat market in Windsor” — specifically, Bill Scott’s Smoke Shop, a longtime supporter of the beavers. Like this:

In photos released by the Essex County Conservation Authority of last week’s final meeting with Metrolinx, Scott can be seen mending fences, setting up couches and preparing to greet potential visitors. The hearing is closed to public, but the newspaper shared them with his son, Jim Scott. “The only way you’ll find me is in the beaver pond,” said Jim Scott. Jim Scott said he has been supporting the beavers for years, primarily because the beavers keep down grass along the shore, because they make noise, and because they attract insects such as wasps that gather on the garbage bags, creating a cleaner environment for humans to safely sleep in. “With the pollution, it’s like a bio-tourist spot,” he said.

See, beavers are keeping humans safe — cause, beavers.

Mike Van Dyke, director of Metrolinx’s Infrastructure Investment Program, said, “Metrolinx is actively engaging local stakeholders. Our aim is to fully engage all stakeholders and move quickly to prepare for upcoming public consultations about the implementation of an option to have these infrastructure features in place in the first half of 2020.” — Sound familiar?

On Twitter, Essex County resident Craig Susco shared an image from the Essex County Conservation Authority’s Facebook page, a cartoon-like illustration of a beaver with its arm wrapped around a red-haired Labrador retriever, a grin across its face:

It’s a game, gentlemen, a game of life and death.

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