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Aurora’s turtle crossing signs protect species

Aurora’s turtle crossing signs protect species

Turtles more active during nesting season

COMMUNITY 03:54 PM by Sabina Seyidova Aurora Banner

The Town of Aurora has put up new crossing signs for turtles, just in time for nesting season.

The signs on Henderson Drive around St. John’s Sideroad and Yonge Street will flash yellow when turtles cross the road. This will help drivers be more aware of the creatures, town communication specialist Michelle Outar-Danaii said.

The signs, which use solar power, will help protect the endangered species, said Aurora Coun. Rachel Gilliland.

Aurora community members came up with the idea after a recent backlash on the proposed redevelopment of land known as Henderson Forest.

The committee of adjustment was to inform resident of their decision on the redevelopment Thursday, May 9 said Wendy Kenyon, vice-president of Henderson Forest Aurora Ratepayers Association (HFARA) said.

Kenyon said she has mixed feelings about the signs going up.

“It brings the community and town together as most people want to save the turtles, but, it is moving them to the construction zone.”

She said the organization initially formed in April 2017 to monitor turtle sightings at Salamander Pond and Tannery Creek, the “hot spot” for turtle crossings. This was done to demonstrate the impacts of redevelopment on turtles, but grew into awareness and concern for dangers they face on the road.

According to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority report provided by Outar-Danaii, almost half of the native species of reptiles and amphibians in Ontario have been designated as « at risk, » including the native turtle species. Road mortality has been identified as one of the major causes of their decline.

“The westbound traffic on Henderson Drive is particularly fast, posing a danger to turtles crossing because of poor line of sight,” Kenyon said.

Disturbances in the habitat of these turtles can have a negative effect on population viability.

“The signs will hopefully wake people up. We can get distracted while driving and the flash sign brings back awareness to slow down,” Kenyon said.

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