On February 22, 2023, Shelley Hunt, Haliburton Highlands Land Trust’s (HHLT) chair and Paul Heaven, HHLT’s project biologist, gave a presentation to Haliburton County Council about the Highlands Corridor.
The Highlands Corridor is a significant wildlife corridor covering over 100,000 hectares of unceded public and private land, rich with wetlands, forest, wildlife communities, species at risk and deep carbon deposits. Connecting three provincial parks (Queen Elizabeth II, Silent Lake and Kawartha Highlands), the Corridor offers a nature-based solution to building climate change resilience, protecting lands and waters, and maintaining biodiversity.
The presentation explained the significance of the Corridor and HHLT’s strategy for protecting it. Following the presentation, several councillors praised HHLT’s conservation work and expressed their support of its efforts.
Questions were raised regarding the boundaries of the Highlands Corridor and the implications of designating Crown land as a conservation reserve, especially with regard to housing.
Shelley Hunt acknowledged their concerns about the potential for housing on Crown land and stressed that HHLT was primarily interested in protecting ecologically sensitive lands and waters and connectivity between the three provincial parks. She agreed that housing was important and suitable sites on Crown land would need to be taken into consideration when defining the boundaries of the conservation reserve.
County Council concluded by passing a resolution to, “support in principle the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust and their efforts to better protect Crown lands and waters in the Highlands Corridor. Haliburton County requests that they be consulted as boundaries of the Corridor are further refined and Crown lands that are to be protected as a conservation reserve are identified.”
HHLT looks forward to consulting with the County to understand housing opportunities within the Highlands Corridor, and work together to build climate change resilience, protect lands and waters and maintain biodiversity.