Many residents voiced their concerns over the impending development of The Promenade at Castle Rock at last night’s City Council Meeting. Arguments focused mainly on the plans by the mall development company, Alberta Development Partners, and how their 166 acre construction will disturb the natural wildlife habitat that some native animals call home.
Senior Planner for the Town, Sandy Vossler, began proceedings by discussing the phase of the project that serves the northern gateway into Castle Rock. Though plans will include changing the landscape with building, there will be an effort to conserve some of its natural beauty. “A 13-acre open space dedication has been made to the Town of Castle Rock along the northern boundary of the property – which will serve as a landscape buffer – as well as providing a wildlife corridor,” said Vossler.
Feb 17, 2015 – Town Council Meeting (Article Continued Below Video)
Although this will save a portion of the habitat, people living in and near Castle Rock would like to see the mall postponed in order to safely move resident animals to another location. Much of the discussion surrounded the proposal to relocate a large colony of prairie dogs that now call the future shopping site home. Essentially, they would be wiped out by the new project.
Multiple conservationists spoke about the impact of losing the colony, and how it would disturb the natural food chain. Burrowing owls and raptors, who also live in and make use of this area of land, would similarly be displaced because their food source, the prairie dogs, would disappear. However, there is likewise sentiment, because the Black-tailed Prairie Dogs are not protected, that things should go on as planned.
Also present at last night’s meeting, Peter Cudlip, Principal for Alberta Development Partners, presented how the company has made efforts to work with wildlife protection agencies to relocate them. Both the Colorado Department of Wildlife and the Prairie Dog Coalition have been consulted to organize a humane way of transporting the animals to another location. As of yet, however, the prairie dogs are not winning the game. “Since we can’t find a permanent relocation site – at this point- (the plan) is to remove the prairie dogs before we start grading,” Cudlip stated.
As all comments from nearby residents came to a close, the review of postponing the construction went to a vote among council members. Met by voiced opposition from the audience, council ended the discussion, voting in favor of passing the motion, 6 to 0, for continued development. So unless a miracle comes along to save the prairie dogs, The Promenade at Castle Rock will soon have their burrows replaced with a shop to order your double-shot latte.