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Illegal Land Clearing: A Timeline
24 February, 2021
The property is purchased by Golf Course Community One Inc., which is owned by Flato.
June 2, 2021, 3.25pm
An excavator arrives at the property and begins clearing trees and bushes.
The excavator that cleared bushes and trees on the Flato property.
June 3, 2021
Concerned residents contact Canadian Wildlife Service through Ontario Wildlife. They report the clearing activities on the land and discover that it is prohibited to disturb or destroy the nests of migratory birds and that disruptive activities should be halted until a non-intrusive survey can be completed.
Click here for a list of the 95 species of Protected Migratory Birds that have been seen on this property.
June 7, 2021
Canadian Wildlife informs residents that it has initiated contact with the developer, Flato, to determine what measures have been taken to avoid harm to migratory birds.
An uncommon Savannah Sparrow on a tree not yet cleared off the land
June 9, 2021:
Local residents speak to the excavator operator. He indicates that he has instructions to clear bush and trees. He anticipates this will take 4 months. He is told that his actions could be illegal and he responds that the owner can do what he wants with the land.
(Although he is known to us, we are not making public the name of the excavator operator.)
Note that this land is an alvar with many rare birds that live in the bush and the trees. Clearing the land in this way amounts to destroying the habitat that makes this a unique ecosystem. It is illegal for a developer to engage in such clearing before an environmental assessment has taken place.
June 3, 2021:
Local residents contact Canadian Wildlife Service, through Ontario Wildlife and determine that it is illegal to disturb or destroy the nests or eggs of migratory birds. Canadian Wildlife recommends non-intrusive survey methods to determine the presence of eggs or nests before any disruptive activities take place. This has not happened on this land.
After hearing that his actions could be illegal, the clearing slows and then stops and the operator hides the excavator out of sight.
June 9, 2021
Residents speak with the operator of the excavator. He says that he has been hired to clear all the trees and shrubs off the land. He anticipates that this will take four months. Residents inform the excavator operator that his actions are illegal. (While we know the name of the excavator operator, we are not providing it in order to protect his privacy).
The excavator operator ceases work and hides the excavator behind some trees.
The excavator hidden behind some trees.
June 12, 2021:
A car from Beacon Environmental, employed by Flato, is parked by the property.
June 14, 2021:
The excavator is removed from the property.
Tracks left by the excavator on the property
August 19, 2021
When asked in a public meeting, Shakir Rehmatullah, CEO of Flato, denied that Flato sent an excavator to the property.
The excavator operator, however, was clear that the owner of the land had sent him to do the clearing.
The owner at that time was Golf Course Community One Inc., owned by Flato.
This chain of events raises questions about Flato's integrity and commitment to environmental protection.
The excavator behind the locked gate to the property.
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