Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Piles of Dirt

Piles of dirt stockpiled for berm

Just south of the Queen St. bridge where King and Queen meet lies an extensive construction site. The former McCord Ready-Mix cement plant (where I had a summer job in 1981) is now a stockpile of earth for the berm that will line the west banks of the Don. The berm will protect the future West Don Lands development which will begin construction once the berm is completed later this year.

Work on the berm hasn't started yet as they are doing some preliminary work that requires shifting some underground pipes and conduits. The engineers tell us that these pipes won't be able to withstand the extra weight of all the earth piled on top once the berm is built so they must be relocated.

Once the berm is complete it will form the basis of the new Don River Park. Look for big changes to this area in 2009.

Monday, January 14, 2008

TORBG Meeting

The Toronto Off-Road Bicycle Group is having a monthly meeting this week. TORBG is an advocacy group for mountain bikers who are currently based in the Don Valley. The group has participated in trail building workshops, garbage cleanups, and consultation on the Crothers' Woods Trail Management Strategy. If you are a cyclist with an interest in the Don trails then you are encouraged to come out and maybe get involved.

Meeting Details:

Wednesday, January 16th, from 7 pm till 10 pm, at
York Reception Centre, 1100 Millwood Road,
corner of Overlea and Millwood. Parking available, bikes welcome.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mountain Biking Strategy

This is a cross-post from I BikeTO. The city has embarked on a community consultation process to formulate a plan to handle mountain biking issues. This has a big impact on our natural areas, especially the Don. Trails are being built all over the place. While this has happened in the past the rate of trail creation has accelerated dramatically and the use of these trails has also increased. The city hopes to try an manage the situation a little better (before this there was virtually no management). If you want to become involved in the process, Contact:

Jennifer Kowalski, Project Manager
Tel: 416-392-7203
Fax: 416-392-3355
Email: jkowals@toronto.ca
Parks, Forestry & Recreation: Strategic Services
Metro Hall, 24th Floor 55 John St. Toronto, ON M5V 3C6

Thursday, January 10, 2008

City Reports, January 2008

From the agenda of the Parks and Environment Committee.

Forest Health Care - Invasive Exotic Pests

The city is requesting additional enforcement action from the federal government to control three exotic pest species that have been found within Toronto boundaries, namely Asian Long-horned Beetle, Emerald Ash Borer Beetle, and the Gypsy Moth caterpillar. All of these pose a serious threat to Toronto's forest and need to be dealt with promptly.

Task Force to Bring Back the Don - Terms of Reference

This is just a bit of administrivia which just updates our Terms of Reference to reflect changes in city governance. I only include it here as an interest item.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cleanup the City? Start with the Don

An article in the Globe and Mail describes a suggestion by two councillors to setup a website where people can send photographs of graffiti or illegally dumped waste. This is modelled after a successful program in England in the town of Lewisham. This sounds like a great idea, especially for the Don. We've been trying to get the city to pay attention to dumping in the Don Valley and other ravines for years. Now we can just post pictures of the stuff and voila! it'll be cleaned up.

Here's a couple of photos to get them started.

Debris litters a slope behind an apartment building in Thorncliffe Park. Some of the garbage hangs from trees as if it were thrown there from nearby balconies, hmm...

Collection of bottles and other junk in Walmsley Brook ravine. This ravine runs through an industrial park in Leaside so it's a magnet for all sorts of junk.

What looks like a safe lying in the woods. I removed this hunk of junk last year but recently spotted two more lying nearby

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What's in Store for the Don in 2008

2008 will see some moderate activity in the Don. There are some major and minor projects on the go and some of them may complete this year and some others might start up. Here's a few teasers/predictions.

Berm project. This project is currently underway south of Queen St. It is building a berm or flood protection landform on the west side of the Don River. When complete it will protect the West Don Lands from flooding and allow redevelopment of the land west to Cherry Street. This is due to be completed at the end of the year but if the work on the railroad overpass was any kind of indicator, expect this project to be pushed into 2009.

Don Mouth EA. The TRCA is currently working on this project. The schedule makes reference to a completion date sometime in 2008. I haven't heard any word about this for some time so who knows what's happening.

Evergreen's plan for the Brick Works. They are in the process of dotting their i's and crossing t's. There's a new sign on Bayview proclaiming the project so I am hopeful that they will finally begin construction this year.

Crothers' Woods. The Management Plan has been complete and the city is in the process of hiring a consultant to begin implementation plans. This is expected sometime this year.

Stormwater cistern beneath the DVP. There is an EA starting sometime that will look at placing a giant cistern underneath the DVP that will stretch from Gerrard to the Lakeshore. This is part of the Wet Weather Flow Master Plan. The EA may get going in 2008 but I expect digging won't commence until 2009.

P.S. Alot of 'sometimes'. Most of these projects rely on the city and the TRCA who are notoriously tightlipped about committing to schedules. Perhaps I will refer back to this post at the end of the year to see how good might foresight is.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Winter Scenes

I went for a walk in the Don Valley today. It was just after a moderately heavy snowfall (Toronto got about 10-15 cm). The temperature was hovering just around zero so the snow was sticking to everything. It was still overcast so the pictures all have a grey hue to them but the wintry effect is quite beautiful. Click on any photo for a more detailed view.

Path in the Todmorden Mills forest

Don River at the Pottery Road weir

Frozen pond at Beechwood

All the trees have a frosted coating

A more tranquil picture of the Don River