How Not to Study Inhabitants of the WSE Route

The 2006 Environmental Study Report (ESR) has this to say about fauna in Fluhrer Park:

Due to the late time of year of the field survey, wildlife observations were limited but included dark-eyed junco, American robin, European starling, blue jay, American goldfinch, eastern garter snake and grey squirrel. As well, along the edge of the Great Cataraqui River, ring-billed gull, mallard, Canada geese and American widgeon were noted. No provincially, regionally or locally significant wildlife species were observed in the 2004 natural environmental site investigation or in the natural environment reviews of the study area.

The study was done in December. So, for example, no turtles were observed, although they are common features of the park landscape:

IMG_7137

Northern Map Turtle and Painted Turtle in Fluhrer Park, courtesy Brenda Foubert

By looking at the park in the winter, the study ignores all sorts of life forms that live there.

The 2006 ESR also studied human Kingston residents in January:

Based on a recent travel survey from January 2002, the overall modal share in the City of Kingston during the afternoon peak hour is as follows:
· Cars – 82% of trips
· Walking – 11% of trips
· Cycling – 1% of trips
· School Bus – 3% of trips
· Public Transit – 3% of trips

This is quite hilarious. Given our recent weather, how many of us have been out on bicycles? Is the coldest time of year an accurate time to measure our transportation choices? By studying people’s transportation habits in winter, the study ignores the range of ways we actually get around, and downplays the importance of cycling and pedestrian transportation.

I submit that the methodology on human and animal inhabitants in this study is seriously flawed. Cars it pays lots of attention to, but living creatures, not so much. This report cannot be a convincing basis of the need for or costs of the WSE.

— Laura Murray

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