|This young deer looking at us from the fields along the shoreline in Scarborough, May 2017, Mike Melnechenko|
The City of Toronto is a remarkable place for nature and wildlife. As a city, we truly are blessed. Not only are we on the shores of one of the most amazing fresh water resources in the world, but our city is situated within an intricate web of rivers and ravines that have remained undeveloped due to their unique topography. We have a wilderness around us. And to realize this on a deeper level would make for a unique opportunity for change and a move towards a future that makes conservation a priority.
One of Toronto's most natural areas is along the shore of the Scarborough Bluffs. It's a place of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Though instead of preserving the natural features of this area, we are destroying them as our regional conservation authority (TRCA) is in the process of a very expensive ($3 million) Environmental Assessment to determine whether its a good idea (or not) to alter our longest remaining natural shoreline.
'Altering' is an understatement.
What the TRCA has in mind is a very extensive (and expensive) project at the cost of approximately $60 million. The project will involve thousands of truck loads of construction debris, over the course of the next 10 to 12 year. The construction waste will be driven from points across the city on a daily basis and dumped into the lake along the shore of a natural area for almost 2 km. Keep in mind that while this project is going on, most likely all public access to the shoreline will be denied. And it is pretty much guaranteed that the only sounds being heard will be that of heavy equipment, large trucks, and that dreaded beeping sound of trucks reversing.
If the project is approved by the Ministry of the Environment, we will end up with a hardened shoreline, lined with a massive armour rock barrier (similar to the Guild shoreline) that will cut off access to the lake for people, and for wildlife.
We already have enough asphalt and paved surfaces. Why do we need more and why do we need a road along the shoreline to destroy the beauty of a natural area? The road will create a sweltering hot microclimate in summer, a barren windy place for fall, a more than likely ice-covered road in winter, and a flooded mess for spring.
This project is a bad idea on so many levels and an even worse one for wildlife. There have been many reports of injured wildlife on shores with armour rock. It is almost impossible for wildlife to access the lake in areas that have hardened shorelines.
Here is an example from a recent article in the Scarborough Mirror with the image courtesy of The Toronto Wildlife Centre. In this picture (from 2011), staff from TWC are examining a deer that has been injured while being trapped within the armour rocks. This article can be found on page 8 of the May 18, 2017 online issue of the Scarborough Mirror.
|Staff from Toronto Wildlife Centre taking care of an injured deer on the shoreline|
Before the TRCA wastes anymore time or money considering this project, lets remind them that our wildlife needs places to go. As a city, we have spread and sprawled into every last pocket of land. Lets leave a place for nature.
Wildlife needs places to roam, trees for shelter and shorelines for water.
The natural and undeveloped areas along the Scarborough Bluffs is an important area that gives wildlife access to the lake. The natural areas along the shore create a wildlife corridor that connects with much larger places like Highland Creek, Morningside Park and even Rouge National Conservation Park.
Lets preserve our natural shorelines and keep this place for nature. Lets stop spending valuable resources, time, and money to destroy our natural environment.
|Satellite map indicating the natural corridors of the shoreline|
Please contact your city councillor today. Your actions will determine the fate of this project.
Write to your city councillor if you want this natural shoreline preserved.
Upcoming Stakeholder MeetingThere is a stakeholder meeting coming up on June 14 which members of the public can attend, space provided. Generally stakeholder meetings are for the groups that the TRCA has been working with throughout the EA process though they have allowed guests to attend to observe the process. It is my understanding that there will be limited space available and I encourage people to contact the TRCA if they would like to attend:
Wednesday June 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm
Scarborough Village Recreation Centre - Village Room
3600 Kingston Road
Scarborough, ON M1M 1R9