‘Death by backhoe’: resident claims city wiped out beavers to negate flooding

In this Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 photo provided by Tommy Sauve, a beaver sits next to a dam along Power Dam Drive in Cornwall, Ont. The dam has created flooding along the major artery. (Tommy Sauve via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – In dealing with a flooding problem on Power Dam Drive, a west-end Cornwall resident claims a city-hired backhoe driver is responsible for killing a family of beavers.

Motorists were dealing with a portion of the road covered in water Friday during the thaw, which reduced the road south of Vincent Massey Drive to one lane of traffic.

Sharon McCullough of Peter Street accuses the city of sending in the machinery Saturday, Feb. 4 where the driver “smashed down an innocent beaver lodge, with the beavers inside (snug and warm and safe)!”

“Death by backhoe!” she wrote in an email to Cornwall Newswatch.

McCullough, who is formally from South Stormont, said the male beaver has been near the former lodge for weeks, mourning the loss of his family.

She said the flooding problem is less to do with the beavers and more with contractors filling in Fly Creek.

“My true, true concern now is very soon the (three) lodges on the east side of Power Dam Drive will be smashed in the same way!”

McCullough said she reported the situation to the SPCA. The humane society referred McCullough to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Lissa Deslandes with the Raisin Region Conservation Authority told CNW that beavers are extremely bonded animals “so a period of mourning would not surprise me.”

While McCullough didn’t actually see the dead beaver mother or her kits, Deslandes said last year’s offspring would be with the family at this time of year.

“Last year’s young would be with the family still and the mom would be pregnant again right now. It might have even been feasible, she had her young already, but typically she would have them in the spring,” she said.

Attempts over the past week to reach a representative with the City of Cornwall requesting comment for this story were unsuccessful.

Infrastructure Division Manager Michael Fawthrop referred calls to Municipal Works Division Manager Bill de Wit. A call to De Wit’s office voicemail Monday said he was away from the office until March 2.