Two new motions pertaining to species at risk and provincially significant wetlands have been passed by North Bay City Council.

Thirteen presentations, including a rare musical performance, were made before a full chamber at the regular meeting of Council last night at City Hall.

Concerned citizens expressed their dismay at Council, in their minds, choosing development over the health of the ecosystem and watershed.

Councillor Mac Bain, who tabled the original motions that also met with demonstrated opposition at the last meeting of Council, says public consultation will be held on both issues, adding this is a preliminary step only.

Asked how the process would unfold, Bain responded, “It’s going to include public consultation. It’s going to include our staff talking to people in the community that have been impacted by species at risk.”

Councillor Mark King, who gave notice of reconsideration on the earlier motions, voted against both newer versions tabled last evening. King spoke at length about the need to move so quickly on the issues, saying “It boggles my mind that we would actually do this.”

Bain says the public was always to be a part of the process, something that was not clearly spelled out in the early drafts. “I’m hoping that everyone’s comments over this past two weeks, both by email and public presentations are included in the submission to the government if approved by Council.

Councillor Scott Robertson said when it came to the provincially significant wetlands, voting no was “a pretty easy choice for me. I believe the idea behind that is to ask the province to change the law in order to curb environmental protection for development.”

Robertson, who says he voted yes on the species at risk motion due to the inclusion of the caveat the public would be consulted, explained his reason for voting against the significant wetlands motion. “As we heard from scientists and experts that were in the gallery tonight, there is a sound scientific basis for drawing the lines where they are. There’s a really important difference between political and ecological borders.”