The National Capital Commission (NCC) began work Thursday to cover the cobblestone circle where a killdeer bird nested last summer, threatening to delay the start of Bluesfest.
In June, workers at Bluesfest came across the killdeer and its nest, containing four eggs, just as they were preparing to set up one of the main stages, close to the Canadian War Museum. Because the killdeer is protected under the Migratory Birds Act, the NCC and Bluesfest had to get a permit from Environment Canada in order to move the nest to a safer location.
As part of the permit process, the commission had to identify its long-term plan to prevent a similar nesting situation from happening in the future. According to a copy of the permit, obtained through access-to-information, the NCC said it planned to “modify the habitat” within the site where the popular music festival takes place.
“Specifically, we wish to replace the cobble stone circle with asphalt,” the NCC wrote.
A spokesperson for the commission confirmed the asphalt work was contracted and began Thursday morning. The project will cost $4,900, all in, the spokesperson said.
On top of the asphalt work, the NCC told Environment Canada it plans to do “regular nest sweeping,” starting two weeks before Bluesfest set-up is scheduled to begin, “in order to lessen the chances of a Killdeer establishing its nest on the event site.”
The work to cover the cobblestone circle will be broken up into two phases, according to the NCC:
- Phase 1: installation of cold patch asphalt, well compacted with machinery to have no loose material
- Phase 2: removal of cold patch asphalt and installation of hot mix asphalt, well compacted with machinery to match existing pathway.
The NCC says phase 1 will be completed this week and contractors will return to complete phase 2 at the end of April or mid-May.
With files from Beatrice Britneff, Rebecca Lindell, Mike Le Couteur and the Canadian Press