Society investigating marsh contaminants

Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society has been given permission to start water and soil testing on the two stormwater discharges on Beverly Street between York Road and the Trans Canada Highway and to also start a vegetation, wildlife and cultural assessment survey.

The idea is to determine what contaminants are getting into the Somenos Marsh water system from stormwater flowing in from surrounding areas.

Society spokesperson Elizabeth Bailey said "an educated guess" would indicate there could be quite a lot of contaminants of various kinds finding their way in.

However, research has shown that some plants can help get rid of some of them and the Society wants to work on that idea, and offer school students the chance to work on such a planting project.

Asked by Coun. Joyce Behnsen if the Society intended to see the land tied up in that project for an indefinite period, Bailey replied, "we’d like to see it for the long term."

The Society was hoping to get this work done by March 31 because they have received a grant from the federal National Wetland Fund of $37,000 that runs out on that date.

She also asked council to consider contributing $10,000 towards the completion of the work the group intends to do there.

Coun. Kate Marsh asked if some of the donation could come in kind rather than cash and Bailey replied, "That would help make our money go further."

"I don’t see a comprehensive budget here," said Mayor Jon Lefebure. "Council would want to see that before approving funds."

Bailey assured him that a budget would be sent to council.

Behnsen asked, "Is a March 31 timeline realistic?" and was told the Society was hoping for a site visit in early January.