Saturday, August 13, 2005

Meadow Interruptus

The Task Force to Bring Back the Don has been active in the valley since the early 90's. Busily restoring a variety of degraded sites creating new and improved meadows, forests, and wetlands. However the memory of some of these sites seems to have been lost to certain city staff members. Here's the sad story.

One of the restored sites was a mown grass meadow. The site is at the bottom of the Belt Line trail where it turns into the Roxborough Drive ravine alongside the Bayview extension. In 1994 the Task Force planted the site with native trees and shrubs. Up until quite recently it was maturing as a nice forest edge habitat. Unfortunately something new has sprouted up on the site – a chain link fence.

It turns out that at the nearby Brick Works site the city has been in receipt of a large private donation to create facilities for dog walkers. So two fenced in areas were built in 2004, one of them near to the Brick Works entrance.

“Not good enough!” states the donor, who apparently is also a dog owner. “They need to be bigger.” So the city not wanting to lose the money says “Oh, look, there's a piece of land over here that nobody is using. We can add that to the doggie park.”

What they didn't realize was that this piece of land is our old restoration site and a successful one at that. Before we knew it a fence went up. When we asked what's up with our site? “Sorry, it's a done deal.” says the staffer. “If we don't let this land go to the dogs we're gonna lose the money.”

So is that the end of the story? Not if we can help it. We still have a few friends in the megacity. With a bit of luck and a few twisted arms we can reverse this silliness.

The lesson to be learned here is we can't let up our guard. You turn around for one second and someone takes this as an opportunity to push their priority projects over yours. I'll keep you posted.

Map of contentious meadow

New fence beside Belt Line trail

Meadow as it was last year


Anonymous said...

Je suis d'accord, c'est tout à fait ridicule. Je suppose qu'il n'y a rien de trop beau pour les chiens.

Anonymous said...

Le seul bon chien est un chien mort!