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Ravine Appeal

May 2019
 

RAVINE WASHOUTS UPDATE

As anybody using the steps down into the ravine from Shaftesbury will have observed, there have been some major cave-ins of the stream bank down by the washed-out southern bridge. Starting with a major storm in May 2018, a wash-out of the foundation of the wall leading to the former bridge has resulted in the creation of a second stream leading directly to the railway bridge.

As a result of the unusually large rainfall in the past few months, this second stream has grown larger and is now undercutting the slope below that part of Summerhill Gardens. Additional washouts have occurred further north, closer to the St Clair bridge over the ravine.

For the past three years, the SRA has been advocating the formation of a Working Group to come up with erosion control solutions and a plan for bringing the ravine park back to the attractive recreational space it once was. Thanks to the strong support provided by Councillor Mike Layton, this Working Group is now meeting regularly and is achieving some results.

The TRCA is now planning two work projects: (1) slope stabilization and erosion control work from just south of the St Clair bridge up to the cemetery, and (2) work to repair the rapidly accelerating erosion of the slope below the southern part of Summerhill Gardens.

Both work projects will require the construction of temporary roads and bridges to allow access by heavy equipment. Some paths may need to be temporarily closed. Updates concerning path closures and other news will be posted on this website as they become available. The SRA will be pressing for path improvements to be undertaken when the erosion control work occurs.

 

SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS IN THE RAVINE

In partnership with other neighbouring residents associations, the SRA has pressed for the installation of a traffic light where the ravine path down to the Brickworks crosses Mt Pleasant at Roxborough. We are now informed that the traffic light will be installed next year, along with reconstruction of the intersection to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

 

INVASIVES CONTROL IN THE RAVINE

As part of its work to remediate the ravine and restore its ecological integrity, the SRA has organized the formation of a consortium of the five residents associations bordering the Vale of Avoca ravine, now to be extended to include two more associations (Bennington Heights and Governors Bridge) bordering the Mud Creek ravine along the route of the former Belt Line railway that ran from the Brickworks up to the eastern portion of the Mt Pleasant cemetery.

The consortium is now in the process of being incorporated as a non-profit foundation that can raise private funds from donors to accomplish ecological restoration work on public lands in the ravines and work with private land owners to do the same on ravine land they own. The foundation will work with the Toronto Parks and Tree Foundation and other agencies to lever what it can accomplish.  More news on this effort shortly.

The consortium is also working with the City to encourage the formation of a City-wide Ravine Conservancy that can attract private funds to remediate and improve the health of ravines throughout Toronto.

 



January 2019
 

Subject: Save our ravines, spread the word

Dear Residents' & Neighbourhood Associations,

A new year of ravine work has begun. If you have a minute, please help spread the word for the following event, Facebook page, and petition:

1.  Please distribute the “Save Our Ravines” event widely to your contacts. See picture below for details.

2.  Join the Facebook Page initiated by Councillor Colle.  https://www.facebook.com/saveourravines/

3. Please sign the following petition initiated by PNTO (Protect Nature Toronto), initiated by Jason Ramsay-Brown.  

https://www.change.org/p/buc-toronto-ca-adequately-fund-the-toronto-ravine-strategy-in-the-2019-budget

 



November, 2018

Accelerated Ravine Erosion

This additional washout at the foot of the path down from the steps at the end of Shaftesbury is the result of two severe rainstorms that occurred in late October and early November. Just one more example of the pressing need for action on preserving the ravine.

There is a similar problem of a dangerously eroding ravine slope at Heath Crescent (not to mention the two back yards on Inglewood Drive that ended up in the Yellow Creek stream last May). While the TRCA (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority) is acting on the Heath Crescent issue, that is only one of the increasingly serious erosion issues in the Vale of Avoca ravine.

We are pressing the City to deal with this erosion as a matter of urgency. If we wait until Toronto Water finally gets its hydrogeomorphic study completed before initiating action, we risk losing more paths and more  of the slope under houses on Summerhill Gardens as well as north of the St Clair bridge.


August 8, 2018


Dear SRA,

Thank you for supporting the Toronto Ravine Revitalization Study based in University of Toronto's Faculty of Forestry. Throughout the past three years, we have met many ecologically-minded ravine residents who would like to help restore the health status of the ravines.

We have wrapped up our resurvey of the Rosedale ravines, and the final report (attached) and six component studies are available at: https://torontoravines.org/reports/

Regards,

Anqi Dong on behalf of the Ravine Team


To view the Toronto Ravine Study 1977-2017 Final Report please click here
 



March 6, 2018: Ravine Update

John Bossons (SRA Board Member) attended a very successful first meeting of the 5-RA Working Group that Kristyn Wong-Tam chaired. Mostly organizational. A followup meeting has not yet been scheduled, it is anticipated to be around the end of March.

 
A subgroup of the Working Group will be meeting with top management of Parks, Recreation, and Urban Forestry on March 20 to explore how we can cooperate in moving things forward. The subgroup has raised about $25K in private funding so far and will be seeking another $100K, all to fund initial mapping, data collection, and invasive control in the Vale of Avoca ravine. Conditional of course on City support, which we hope and anticipate will be forthcoming

January 24, 2018: Photos of the ravine damage shown at The Summerhill Residents' Association AGM, click here

November 10, 2017: CBC coverage of Ravine Strategy; click here

May 16, 2017: Meeting with Councillors. Click here to read the report.
 

UPDATE - April, 2017
Subject: UPDATE ON RAVINE -- NOTE CHANGE OF MEETING DATE

To:  Ravine coalition

We have now received a revised version from City staff of the report Rob and I prepared for our meeting with them in February. 

The revised version is attached.

1.  Comments on what staff told us 

Perhaps the most discouraging information we received is that the remediation program is both delayed and likely to be delayed further.

Last summer, when we met with City staff and Councillors Wong-Tam and Matlow, the expectation of City staff was that the necessary geomorphic study (the prerequisite to reconstruction of the Yellow Creek stream bed) would be undertaken in 2017. We have now been informed that this has been postponed to 2018 and will take two years. We also have learned that Toronto Water plans to then repair/remediate the Yellow Creek stream bed in a multi-year construction program that may last a decade. For understandable reasons, City Parks staff will not undertake needed reconstruction of stream-side paths and ravine slope reforestation until after the stream bed repairs have been effected.

All of this means that the Yellow Creek remediation project is in danger of becoming a decade-long project, which is unacceptable — if only because of the additional erosion and ravine degradation which will occur in the meantime.

2.  Upcoming reports to City committees  —  NOTE DATE CHANGE

MAY 16  -  City Executive Committee  (9:30 am or later, depending on agenda)

Parks will report on the implementation of the City’s Ravine Strategy. We will depute to emphasize the need for expedited action in the Vale of Avoca/Yellow Creek ravine. Rob and I will draft a letter that the five residents associations can send in as a joint submission.

It is important to note that we need to make a strong representation at this meeting to ensure that Council recognize the need to allocate adequate funds to ravine remediation across the City. Our needs will be only one of the priorities City staff will advance.

JUNE 6  -  Parks and Environment Committee  (9:30 am or later, depending on agenda)

The long-postponed response to last September’s motion directing Parks and Toronto Water to report on a Master Plan for the ravine remediation and on the establishment of a Working Group is now scheduled to be presented at this meeting. (The postponement is due to Parks desiring to wait until the overall Ravine Strategy has been submitted and dealt with by Council, so that the Vale of Avoca issue can be discussed in the context of the overall City plan.)

3.  Meeting with councillors

We will attempt to arrange a meeting with Councillors Wong-Tam and Matlow to coordinate strategy for the June 6 meeting and to ask for their help. More on this later.

 




UPDATE -- Yellow Creek (Vale of Avoca) Work plan: January 26, 2017

Just a brief message to let you know what we have now heard from Parks about dates.

Parks, together with Toronto Water and other affected departments undertook in September to report in late February on work towards a master plan for the ravine remediation and the establishment of a Working Group to provide community input on that plan (and its implementation). That date has now been moved forward to the Parks and Environment meeting in April (April 6).

The reason for the change is to allow several reports on ravine issues (including on the implementation of the City's overall ravine strategy) to be dealt with together.

The delay does not affect any work in the ravine. The major immediate step forward --Toronto Water's geomorphic hydrological study of what to do from an engineering viewpoint-- is already approved and is about to start this spring. Nothing much is going to happen until that study is completed, which is expected to happen early in 2018. The Master Plan for the ravine (including both major construction to handle storm water surges and related parks improvements including repair of paths and bridges) will depend on the results of the geomorphic study. It is frustrating to have to wait so long for progress, but there are good reasons for the timetable. 

 

We will keep you informed of progress as we get closer to the April meeting.

 

UPDATE -- Yellow Creek (Vale of Avoca) Work plan: January 26, 2017

Just a brief message to let you know what we have now heard from Parks about dates.

Parks, together with Toronto Water and other affected departments undertook in September to report in late February on work towards a master plan for the ravine remediation and the establishment of a Working Group to provide community input on that plan (and its implementation). That date has now been moved forward to the Parks and Environment meeting in April (April 6).

The reason for the change is to allow several reports on ravine issues (including on the implementation of the City's overall ravine strategy) to be dealt with together.

The delay does not affect any work in the ravine. The major immediate step forward --Toronto Water's geomorphic hydrological study of what to do from an engineering viewpoint-- is already approved and is about to start this spring. Nothing much is going to happen until that study is completed, which is expected to happen early in 2018. The Master Plan for the ravine (including both major construction to handle storm water surges and related parks improvements including repair of paths and bridges) will depend on the results of the geomorphic study. It is frustrating to have to wait so long for progress, but there are good reasons for the timetable. 

 

We will keep you informed of progress as we get closer to the April meeting.

"Midtown ravine must be saved from erosion, residents say" | Metro News

The following link is the most current issue of Novae Res Urbis Toronto Edition which contains an interview with SRA Board Member, John Bossons with Leah Wong about the status of the ravine. Please see on pages 2 and 5. Link to Article 


If you’ve walked in the ravine recently, you will have noticed how badly it has deteriorated over the last year. The SRA (together with the North and South Rosedale and Moore Park residents’ associations) have launched an appeal to our Mayor and Councillors for urgent repairs and erosion control.

Below is a copy of a letter sent to Mayor Tory and Councillors Matlow and Wong-Tam by the four associations, along with a short brief describing what needs to be fixed. 

Getting the ravine repaired is a top priority for the SRA Board, and the initiative taken by the four associations is only one part of the work currently being done. A second initiative being undertaken by the Board’s Ravine Committee (John Bossons and Carol Gray, with help provided by John vanNostrand, David Agro, Paul Ruikwood, and Kate Wilson) is to upgrade connections from the Reservoir Park to the ravine as part of the City’s reservoir repair project.

It would be very helpful if you (and anyone else you know who would be willing) would send an email to the mayor with copies to the two councillors, supporting the appeal by the four associations. Their email addresses are:

   mayor_tory@toronto.ca

     councillor_matlow@toronto.ca

     councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca

Also, please sign the on-line petition:

THE MORE "GRASS ROOTS" PRESSURE WE CAN GENERATE, THE MORE LIKELY WE ARE TO GET ACTION.

Updates on progress will be provided on the SRA website.

Attachments:    

Letter to Mayor

Ravine Call to Action

Sign Petition

 
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