Saturday, October 27, 2007

New Wetland Proposal


Wetland Design Scheme (click to expand)

The Don is getting a new wetland this fall. Just west of Victoria Park Ave. in Taylor Creek Park is an open field that gets very wet. There is no apparent water source so it is likely that the water table is very close to the ground in this area. This is an important project for the Don Watershed. Only about 0.2% of the original wetlands have survived. Most have been lost to agricultural and urban uses. Anytime that this trend can be reversed it is a positive development.

Construction is due to begin sometime this fall. Backhoes will be brought in to excavate the pond which will be about 1.5 m at its deepest point. In the spring, planting and other landscaping will be started. As with any new project it will take a few years before it starts to look like anything substantial.

Feedback from local environmental groups and residents has been mixed. Friends of the Don East are generally supportive of the project yet rival group Taylor Massey Project supports it in principle only. In a letter to the city staff, they outline their reservations which appear to be centred around the fact that they weren't consulted. They claim not to have have seen a detailed design (see above) nor are they aware of the budget (about $300,000). TMP wanted a site visit as well but didn't get one. They are also concerned about fluctuating water levels.

The East York-Riverdale Mirror has published an article on the wetland. In the article local councillor Janet Davis said that a public meeting will be scheduled next month with environmental stakeholders to review the project. A local resident, Alyssa Diamond is opposed to the project mostly because she doesn't want a wetland behind her house. She says that it would be a source for mosquitoes. What she doesn't realize is that a functioning wetland would be less of a source for mosquitoes than the current wet meadow. She also says that a wet meadow provides valuable habitat. This maybe true but most of the habitat that a wet meadow provides is also available in a wetland. A wetland also provides a more diverse range of habitats including a place for fish, amphibians and reptiles. If you were to rate habitat value on a scale of 1-10 a wet meadow would be about 4-5 but a wetland is a solid 10.



Location of wetland site

6 comments:

Andy McKinnon said...

I oppose this "development". This is a beautiful natural area that has a multitude of things living in it already. Turning this area into a stormwater and retention pond makes a terrible place for things to live. With heavy sediment loads, pollutants and rapid rise of water whenever it rains,you create a vicious cycle of animals, birds, insects moving into this area just to be set back or killed.

Cat Beattie said...

Why do any anturalized areas left in this city have to be developed? Take a look around at the places where paved trails and "informative" signs have been in place for a couple of years. They become strewn with trash, graffittied and vandalized. Why can there be no spaces left for nature without constant human interference?

Donwatcher said...

Andy,

Thank you for your comments. I'd like to point out that this will not be a stormwater retention pond. There is no storm sewer or urban runoff leading into this pond. The only water source will be ground water seepage.

DW

Donwatcher said...

Cat,

Admittedly, interpretive signs do get tagged and it is the city's responsibility to clean them promptly. However, they are of great help in informing the public about the Don. I often see people stopping to read them. If we can do one thing to help out the public it is to educate them about the beautiful natural spaces we have and the value they add to our urban environment.

Anonymous said...

Ok, you read the sign once and learn something. Next time you go to the same place, it's just visual pollution. I don't go out to "green spaces" to look at signs, do you? Besides, that wasn't my only point. The spaces where wildlife can live in this city become smaller and more degraded with every development, every building or new road, every paved pathway that goes through them. Certainly we enjoy going out to see the birds and wildlife, but many of them don't seem to enjoy seeing us, especially when nesting or raising their young. Many people just don't worry about whether they're disturbing or endangering wildlife by doing everyday things like walking their dogs off-leash, for example. When you put in a pathway, you end up scaring off a lot of wildlife that have very few places left to live in peace. I just don't understand why people can't leave nature alone, without trying to constantly "improve" it. Unless it's to apply for government grants, but I guess maybe I'm being cynical.

A Diamond said...

Since you quote me, I'd like to add a couple of points.

First, a key issue I raised was that there is an uncorrected fault with a manhole/sewer that overflows with raw sewage in every heavy rainfall and floods the area in question. I sent photos to the councillor showing a gushing torrent of the stuff.

Second, I pointed out that the entire project was unecessary. The land in question was already a thriving habitat, and that in a time of budget constraints, this "development" was inappropriate.

Third, as if unnecessarily getting the backhoes in and then building up areas with tons of imported rocks (and two dead tree stumps, "planted" to look authentic!) wasn't bad enough, they've gone and added a completely useless, ineffective and wasteful split rail fence. This has nothing to do with habitat, and it does not divide anything from anything - unless you count parting taxpayers from more money.

The city would have spent the money far more wisely if they'd invested it in addressing pollution in the area's creeks and rivers.

Alyssa