WINNIPEG -- Nearly 2,000 people have signed on to a petition to save an endangered orchid growing on the site of a proposed development in Brandon.

The cypripedium candidum, also known as the Small White Lady's-slipper, is one of Manitoba's species at risk, and, according to Manitoba Conservation, it is considered 'very rare' in virtually every state and province in which it grows.

The slow-growing plant takes at least 12 years to reach maturity.

That's one reason the proposed Southeast Brandon Secondary Plan – which lays out a framework for how the area will be developed – has hundreds of residents concerned.

According to a petition, the site that is being proposed for development is also the site of the third-largest population of the endangered orchid in Manitoba.

A spokesperson for the City of Brandon told CTV News that the plan is still in its draft stage, and there will be additional public consultations held before the plan is presented to council for approval.

"The white lady’s slipper orchid – a federally and provincially designated endangered species – has been identified by the Province as existing in the area that the Secondary Plan encompasses," the spokesperson said.

They added that because the province is the regulatory authority for managing endangered species, the proposed development plan will have to comply with the province's requirements on preserving and managing the species.

The Province of Manitoba said it is aware that the orchid is on the location of a proposed residential development.

The province provided the following conditions that must be followed while developing the land:

  • Maintain a 25-metre buffer the area around all Small White Lady’s-slippers occurrences identified in the 2019 field study conducted, commissioned by the proponent.
  • The 25-metre buffer is to be protected by fencing during and after construction on the site.
  • The developer must complete a stewardship protection plan for the proposed development prior to construction.

As of Friday evening, the petition had more than 1,800 signatures.

-with files from CTV's Josh Crabb