The home of an endangered species, the Jefferson Salamander, and site of the on again, off again River Road extension will not be pursued for purchase by the City of Kitchener.

Councillors voted 8 – 3 against a motion asking to set aside $2 Million to buy all or part of Hidden Valley on Monday night.

Councillor Yvonne Fernandes’ motion was called fiscally irresponsible.

“I was a little bit offended by the comments made by some of my fellow Councillors about my lack of fiscal responsibility. I didn’t say we were going to spend $2 Million, I said I wanted it allocated, in other words, put in a fund, so that some of that could go towards the purchasing of Hidden Valley.”

Fernandes says Hidden Valley is a “jewel” of the natural world, bordered by busy industrial lands and homes, and Fernandes believes it must be preserved. “It has a number of orchids, and flora and fauna,” she said. ” … We’re dealing with endangered species in that area, we’re dealing with mature trees.”

“When you’re in there, it’s unbelievable how peaceful and quiet it is.”

Councillors who opposed the Fernandes motion expressed it doesn’t make sense. Including Councillor Berry Vrbanovic.

About 200 acres of the Hidden Valley land is owned by Pearl Valley, a developer. 34 acres of that 200 acres can be developed. That is, on one condition.

The Region of Waterloo is having the Ministry of Natural Resources compare a plan to extend River Road with the habitat of the Jefferson Salamander, an endangered species. If this MNR report concludes that River Road can’t go through, like a previous one did, 0 of those 200 acres are good for development. If none of the land can be built on, its value plummets.

“I don’t know of one member of council who doesn’t believe that as much of Hidden Valley as possible needs to be preserved for future generations. The discussion to purchase those lands, however, needs to happen at a time once the future of the River Road extension is known.” Vrbanovic said.