Harper Park: Ideas needed to help protect the North Tributary of Harper Creek in the face of planned road reconstruction

Some of the most pristine habitat in the Harper Wetland occurs outside of the boundaries of Harper Park.  Point in fact, the North Tributary of Harper Creek originates in private lands where the groundwater source that feeds the tributary is located.  The North Tributary is a cold-water trout creek that once meandered naturally through uplands north of Rye St. and south of Lansdowne West until it was bulldozed over to enable development along Rye Street. Fortunately, a portion of the trout stream was restored, linearized, and run alongside of Rye Street. Over time, the north tributary restoration has become prolific spawning and nursery habitat for our native brook trout.

From a transportation perspective, Rye Street has evolved to become a convenient shortcut connecting the Parkway and Lansdowne West, but this busy road still maintains a rural profile – no storm sewers, sidewalks or bike lanes.  A ninety degree bend at the intersection of Rye St. and Harper Rd. challenges large transport trucks such as the Liftlock Fuels’ trucks that originate from a company located along this stretch of Rye.

The problem is, any upgrade of Rye Street will cause significant, negative impacts to the fish habitat that now co-exists alongside it.

The north tributary of Harper Creek flows in close proximity to Rye St.
Every fall, our native brook trout spawn in close proximity to Rye St.

The City of Peterborough has awarded the contract for the road upgrade project to D.M. Wills Associates Ltd.  Project leaders from both D.M. Wills and the City of Peterborough have subsequently published a public ‘notice of commencement’ of the road upgrade project.  The project will be completed under a municipal class environmental assessment (MEA) process.  The MEA process involves presenting reasonable alternatives to problems arising from municipal infrastructure projects. To this end, and admirably early in the process, project leaders are soliciting input from the community as to their thoughts, concerns and values surrounding the brook trout creek alongside Rye Street.

The deadline for submitting initial information and comments is Tuesday, September 6th.  Click on the picture below, go directly to the PFN calendar of events, or select the highlighted text to see the full notice of commencement.

HarperPark-RyeStUrbanization

Harper Park, Harper Creek and Harper Wetland form an important ecological complex in the southend of Peterborough.  The creek portion of the complex is home to a native population of brook trout that need our protection.  If you have any thoughts on how we might preserve the spawning and nursery habitat on Rye Street, please take the time to comment to project leaders as identified in the notice of commencement.

This will not be your last chance to participate in this process, but the earlier that problems and potential solutions are identified, the better!

For more information, you can contact Kim Zippel at kimzippel at nexicom dot net.