Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Grey Abbey and East Point - January Update

Grey Abbey Sand Beach  photo credit: Jen Falvy

Earlier this month the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority announced their preferred alternative for the eastern segment of the Waterfront Project and unfortunately this included the destruction of an important natural shoreline.

Along the eastern shores of the Scarborough Bluffs between Guildwood and Highland Creek is a long sand beach 4 km in length. The selected alternative chosen by the TRCA will destroy the unique and celebrated features of this beloved shoreline. They will not be adding a beach as they are claiming. The beach is already there. They will be removing the beach and implementing a hardened surfaces along 1.9 km of this shore.

About the Project: 
  1. Cost of construction is estimated over $60 million, taking over ten years to complete
  2. Natural features of the shoreline will be lost, resulting in irreversible damage
  3. Access to the lake will be permanently blocked, for people and wildlife

About the shoreline: 
  1. This is a recognized Heritage Shoreline, Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) and an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI)
  2. The shoreline is accessible in it's current natural state, in all seasons and is used by the local public and those across the greater Toronto region
  3. East Point and Grey Abbey have bluffs that are nesting colonies for thousands of Bank Swallows; a threatened species in decline by 90%

Documents of reference for this project:
There are a number of documents and planning initiatives that the TRCA refers to when justifying this project and the rationale is further emphasized by referring to them with a few selected quotes. What’s remarkable is the documents and their guiding principles are being misrepresented.They do not support the destruction of this shore and in actual fact they speak of the opposite!

The  documents highlight conservation, planning with a vision, cooperating with private land-owners, working together with the public, engaging indigenous groups, recognizing the natural features of the landscape, maintaining access to the water, and protecting wildlife and important habitat. The documents that speak specifically about the waterfront trail actually recommend that the trail remain along the top of the bluffs in this segment to protect this environmentally significant area and preserve the natural shoreline.

  • The Watershed Plan 1980
  • The Waterfront Trail: First Steps from Concept to Reality 1991
  • Regeneration: Toronto's Waterfront and the Sustainable City 1992
  • Lake Ontario Greenway Strategy 1995
  • Integrated Shoreline Management Strategy 1996

The Toronto Region Conservation Authority needs to be held accountable to the documents and the reports that they claim are supporting this project, so that this eastern segment of the waterfront does not become an expanded make-work project that will be nothing more than a resting place for an endless supply of lake-filled demolition debris in an area that should be a celebrated jewel of our city. 

Hopefully common sense will prevail and this shoreline will be recognized as a place worth preserving for the benefit of all! 

Remember to sign and share the petition:

Preserve the Shoreline Petition

If you would like to learn more by visiting this remarkable shoreline, we have scheduled our first tour of the area through our Meetup walking group: 

A Walking Tour of Grey Abbey
Sunday February 12th at 2:00 pm
Location: Grey Abbey Park
Intersection of Morningside/Greyabbey Trail
in Scarborough
We will meet in rain, snow or shine!

Thank you for staying in touch!

Visit the website: www.torontonaturalshorelines.com

Become involved:  bluffsfriends@gmail.com