By Chris Pickup

A naturalization project begun twenty years ago by the Dunnville Bioregion Association and since allowed to lapse, is gaining impetus for renewal from a number of community groups.

During the rehabilitation of Centennial Park, Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS) became very familiar with the adjacent Thompson Creek Restoration area, intended to be a no cost recreational amenity for residents and visitors.

The DHS reached out to one of the original volunteers on the project, Dan McKay, and last summer the two met with the Dunnville Rotary Club, the local councillor, Haldimand County and GRCA staff to consider restarting the restoration.

Three local schools, Dunnville Secondary, Thompson Creek elementary and Dunnville Christian have also asked to become involved, through assistance with regular clean ups.

In addition DHS was approached in the fall by Tall Grass Ontario to request  a controlled burn of the tall grasses to remove invasive species.

The proposal put before council last Tuesday includes preservation and management of the wetland area, completion of a natural pathway system, clean-up of the arboretum of Carolinian species, controlled burn of the tall grasses, planting of wild flowers, identification and labelling of species, installation of waterfowl and songbird nesting structures, educational signage along the pathways and large signage identifying the ‘outdoor classroom’ (Centennial Park pavilion) including the history and significance of the wetlands and naturalized area.

The total budget is $33,000. Haldimand county voted unanimously to provide $11,550 (35%) funding with the community raising the other 65%. County rules on partnership funding require the community funding to be in place before the project proceeds.