They claim route threatens rare turtle

Tracey Tong/metro ottawa


Save Our Greenspace members Matt Rodgers and Chelsea Walton donned turtle shell-patterned sandwich boards at city hall yesterday to raise awareness of the endangered Blanding’s turtle along the O-Train route.

They want to be heroes in a half shell, where the environment’s concerned.

Dressed in turtle shell-patterned sandwich boards, several members of environmental advocacy group Save Our Greenspace stood outside city hall yesterday and played percussion instruments to raise awareness that Ottawa’s proposed extension of the O-Train line may lead to the demise of a rare turtle here.

Demonstrators held signs that read, “What about the Blanding’s turtle?” and “Ottawa needs to save species at risk, not poison them or destroy their habitat.”

There’s a recognized Blanding’s turtle population in the wetland near Ottawa International Airport, yet the city is considering extending the O-Train to Leitrim, according to Save Our Greenspace member and Blanding’s turtle advocate Madonna Limoges.

The group wants council to move the O-Train extension to along the airport parkway and have a spur towards Leitrim instead of having it run through the greenbelt.

“It’s disappointing that we’re the capital of the country and that we’re not doing anything to save species at risk,” Limoges said.

Blanding’s turtle is one year away from being placed on Canada’s endangered species list. But it isn’t just about losing a species. “A lot of people move to that area for the greenbelt,” said Save our Greenspace member, Dana Wagler.

Save Our Greenspace is trying to set up a meeting with council today. But city residents also have a part to play in saving the Blanding’s turtle. Wagler urged people to write councillors to ask them to keep the greenbelt in mind when planning the O-Train route.

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