Bal­anc­ing acts

Canadian Geographic - - EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK -

I CRINGE EV­ERY TIME I pass Bobolink Ridge. I sus­pect who­ever named the street near my home af­ter the threat­ened bird species meant well. But I can’t help but con­front the un­for­tu­nate irony in the name: the street is in a new sub­di­vi­sion that re­placed the open meadow of tall grasses where the en­dan­gered bird was found. It’s cer­tain that ur­ban de­vel­op­ment has im­pacted count­less species across the na­tion. Mar­garet Munro’s fea­ture story (page 32) on bal­anc­ing ur­ban ex­pan­sion in Van­cou­ver with pro­tect­ing the crit­i­cally im­por­tant habi­tat of the Fraser River delta is a prime ex­am­ple of the is­sues fac­ing com­mu­ni­ties big and small across Canada. Two ex­am­ples en­cap­su­late Van­cou­ver’s de­bate. On one hand, there’s the prom­ise of bil­lions of dol­lars in new eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and thou­sands of ad­di­tional jobs fore­cast in the Port of Van­cou­ver’s plan to the mid­dle of the cen­tury. On the other, how will the 600 mil­lion to a bil­lion young salmon that in­habit ti­dal marshes in the area and are al­ready threat­ened by im­pacts from cli­mate change and ur­ban de­vel­op­ment pres­sures fare when the port’s pro­posed 108-hectare in­fill ex­pan­sion is com­plete? Mayor Gre­gor Robert­son has de­creed Van­cou­ver will be “the green­est city in the world by 2020.” Pre­sum­ably pro­tect­ing the Fraser — the prov­ince’s long­est river — and the wildlife species that de­pend on it is a part of that plan. The rest of the coun­try will be watch­ing. Will it be a lead to fol­low? — Aaron Kylie

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