It is with sadness that we are informed of the passing of long time member, Donald Kerr.
An obituary will follow when it becomes available
Don Kerr has a motto: “don’t tell me it can’t be done; tell me what has to change to make it happen.” It’s a maxim that has served him well in his 10-year crusade to preserve and protect the Silver Creek Wetland, which he describes as “one of the largest, if not the largest, coastal wetland on southern Georgian Bay.” Today, the wetland’s future is all but assured, thanks to a change Kerr was instrumental in bringing about.
Covering an area of approximately 166 hectares at its mouth, this Provincially Significant Coastal Wetland stretches along the Nottawasaga Bay shoreline in Collingwood and The Blue Mountains, and plays a vital role as habitat and spawning ground for a diverse variety of birds, fish and plant species, including some that are endangered or threatened. When Kerr joined the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation shortly after moving to Collingwood in 2003, the Silver Creek Wetland was already a key issue.
Most of the wetland is privately owned, and was in danger of being lost to development. Kerr envisioned and initiated the Silver Creek Vision Project, a strategy for transferring as much as possible of the wetland out of private hands and managing the properties as one unit. He played a key role in securing agreement from both the Collingwood and Blue Mountains councils, and the boards of the Grey Sauble and Nottawasaga Valley Conservation authorities and Niagara Escarpment Commission to adopt this approach.
“When a developer wants to develop something near the wetland, his properties in the wetland are ceded to the town. We have a commitment for about 40 per cent of the total wetland to be ceded, and we are awaiting a final agreement that would bring the total to about 70 per cent.”
For his work on the Silver Creek Vision Project, Kerr received the Ian Shenstone Fraser Conservation Award presented by Ontario Nature. But awards and recognition pale in comparison to the satisfaction of knowing that the wetland – and its resident flora and fauna – will survive in perpetuity.
“I consider this the most important thing I’ve done,” says Kerr. “There’s a strong feeling of appreciation to know that it will continue to be there, knowing that there’s a home for the species that depend on it. The Silver Creek Wetland is one of the most important ecological features in this region, and it’s critical that it remain intact and full