The endangered small white lady’s-slipper is found on the east side of First Street and both north and south of Patricia Avenue — near a planned development in Brandon’s south end. (FILE PHOTO)
An endangered orchid species found living in the wild in Brandon’s south end has delayed the city in completing some necessary drainage infrastructure.
The small white lady’s-slipper is a provincially and nationally endangered orchid, according to Manitoba Conservation — one of the most precious wildflowers found in the province.
The flowers are found on the east side of First Street and both north and south of Patricia Avenue.
"We had to go through a process with Manitoba Conservation so they’re aware of it," said Ted Snure, the city’s general manager of development services. "We hired someone who’s kind of a specialist on the plant to identify where they were and actually locate them so that we could put a plan together that we mitigate any concerns for the plants."
VBJ Developments and the city worked together on a drainage plan for the company’s Island Park subdivision. The company was required to build a retention pond and extend storm sewers.
"The developer has paid his fair share of the full improvements required in terms of the detention pond … and the connections from the north side of Maryland Avenue and west of the traffic circle," Snure said at this week’s city council meeting. "It was a negotiated agreement that he would build the size sufficient to handle his drainage plus the drainage that went through there and we would provide the outlet."
The city’s commitment was to build the positive outlet from the pond to Patricia Avenue, which hasn’t been completed yet.
"That’s been a project that’s been on our books for at least four years," Snure said to council. "And the reason for that delay is because of the white lady’s-slipper plants that are on the land to the east side of First Street."
Snure said they had to look at re-routing options to ensure the protection of the endangered flowers.
"We had to look at options as to how we could drain it because it normally wanted to pass through the lands immediately to the west," he said. "So we had to find an alternate way to pass it, which means along the right of way at Patricia Avenue."
Currently there is no gravity outlet, Snure added. "It ends and we pump it ... (The developer) has a small piece of work to do right at the retention pond behind Crocus Plains high school … but it can’t happen until we get our piece of pipe work done."
Snure said if all goes well, work can begin this fall, "if we have all of our design done and all of our clearances."
According to a provincial spokesperson, if an endangered species is found, a developer is required to get approval from Manitoba Conservation before proceeding. In order for the development to be approved, the developer must create a plan to protect any endangered species or habitat during the development of the site.
The Endangered Species Act prohibits the removal of an endangered species or the destruction of the habitat of an endangered species. Fines can be up to $5,000 for an individual or up to $50,000 for a corporation.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 23, 2013