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City wants to PAVE DIRT PATH alongside Etobicoke Creek – HOW TO STOP IT!


This topic contains 15 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  allantats 3 years, 1 month ago.

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    The City of Toronto, in their Etobicoke Creek North Trail Project Proposal wants to put a PAVED PATH THROUGH THE NATURAL WOODED AREA alongside Etobicoke Creek, over the dirt trail South of Eglinton Avenue to about Rathburn Road this fall.

    This paved path will harm the untouched area of woods, unless we act now. There is ALREADY a PAVED path DIRECTLY OPPOSITE the dirt trail, on the OTHER SIDE of the creek!

    The proposed paved path will be not only a waste of your tax dollars, but will spoil an area of untouched woods unless we stop it. See the CBC article from June 13, 2017: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/plans-for-wilderness-area-in-north-etobicoke-creating-rift-between-activists-local-councillor-1.4157648

    Leave the dirt trail alone. Spend the money on police patrols along Etobicoke Creek where illegal dumping is an ongoing issue. See the recent article : http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/etobicoke-creek-mystery-spill-may-take-a-week-to-clean-up-1.3076687

    Contact Councillor Stephen Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre) and the Mayor of Toronto, and let them know you DO NOT want this paved path to go through, and that the woods must be preserved.

    Suggest a better use of the funds would be to protect Etobicoke Creek from illegal toxic dumping in the water by setting up special police patrols in known trouble spots.

    Remind them we have voting power! Follow up with them until you get a response.

    * Send them a paper letter (best option), fax them, call, and email:
    Councillor Stephen Holyday
    Toronto City Hall
    100 Queen Street West, Suite B26
    Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

    Phone: 416-392-4002

    Mayor of Toronto, John Tory
    Toronto City Hall
    100 Queen Street West, 2nd floor
    Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

    416-397-2489 ph. / 416-338-7126 fax

    -Tell your friends and neighbours about this issue
    -Post on social media and blogs about the issue
    -Take pictures and video of the unspoiled wooded area near the creek and post them on social media
    -Tell newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations about the issue and invite them to do a report – send them the CBC.ca article links, talk about the possible waste of taxpayer money, as there’s a paved path on the other side of the creek already.
    -Contact the organization Friends of Etobicoke Creek and the many trail clubs and eco groups.

    We can preserve our natural spaces, together! – Feel free to photocopy and give out this sheet.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Hi @12g Welcome to RFG.

    Our team member @fietser actually just brought that CBC article to my attention. I have seen the work already in progress and damage already done.

    I think I speak for everyone here in saying that we don’t want this section paved. We’d prefer this remains natural surface in accordance with the NETS document. We’re all pretty frustrated by how the ravines are being managed.

    We’ll do what we can to help stop this but fear it’s already too late.

    Thanks for posting this here in our community. We’re definitely on side with sustaining and cleaning up the creek.




    Hmm that’s a sizable stretch. We don’t need more pavement (other than the 90s indie band).



    @12g thanks for taking the time to post up here at RFG. I can’t say enough how community engagement such as this is key to ensuring that the Ravines are managed and used in appropriate ways. While our uses may differ, the fact is that we are all there for the same reasons – to enjoy ourselves, recreate, relieve stress etc. in the splendour of the Ravines.

    I fully agree that paving, anywhere, in the Ravines should be avoided at all costs. If we look at the current standard in the Creek for multi use trails you will find, by in large, crushed limestone throughout that section. While there are paved sections they are found in more park like settings (for example from Marie Curtis to the QEW) I think that these more highly traveled sections are more park that actual ‘nature’ and as such the asphalt is more fitting or at least less out of place. So why Councillor Holyday and the City feel that pavement is the only option through here is curious. Stating that it is a maintenance issue seems silly. The rest of the sections receive little to no maintenance and have held up very well. Plus, it isn’t like they are planning on winter maintenance so this is a mute point in my opinion.

    The recently completed Ravine Management Strategy has as its first priority:
    Ravines are fundamentally natural spaces. Ecological function and resilience is the foundation for long-term sustainability of the ravines and watersheds. We are all guardians of these spaces and must treat them with care and respect. All actions related to ravines should be guided by the overarching goal of protecting these spaces by maintaining and improving their ecological health.

    Further to that Brian Denney, Chief Executive Officer Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, is quoted in the document saying:
    “The number one priority must always be to protect remaining natural habitats in ravines and restore and enhance other ravine areas.”

    So I question how PAVING a section of existing natural surface trail is in keeping with either of the above statements. Paving these sections will not protect natural habitats. Similarly, the significant structure they need to build in order to route the new trail not be in keeping with protecting REMAINING natural habitats. Enhancing? Well, I would argue that a paved path through that section will not enhance the natural habitat at all – rather, it will likely detract from the current state.

    While I am all for accessibility what we seem to have here is an example of accessibility trumping the protection of natural habitat. Councillor Holyday is quoted saying:
    “I think weighing these things out between the accessibility and the ability for many, many people to enjoy it, versus the concerns raised by what I believe is a very small few, I’ve got to find on that side of the balance.”

    Without getting too philosophical I suppose it comes down to how accessible do we need to make all nature? Should we be installing a ski lift up Mt. Everest in order to ensure accessibility for all? Or is it enough that there is a road to basecamp where people can bask it the natural beauty of the mountain? I would argue with Councillor Holyday that the Ravine is quite accessible already for the vast majority of users. While the connectivity might be interrupted in this section of Ravine for some, I guess I would ask him how ‘many, many people’ more this paved section will serve that are not current already using it?

    Another issue that is raised by increasing access to the Ravines, which was raised repeatedly when I sat on the Ravine Management Advisory Committee, was how these increases would be managed. While it is all well and good to invite the entire City down to enjoy the Ravines, has Councillor Holyday considered the potential ramifications of doing so with regard to impacts on the surrounding environment? The introduction of the App Trailforks is a pretty good example of this – increased number of users with no check of balance on increased use (e.g. management, enforcement, maintenance etc.) It is no secret that increased visits/ use result in increased pressures. Currently the City is years behind when it comes to management of the Ravines (see NETS). The Etobicoke Creek doesn’t even have a Community Stewardship Program up and running – I have asked for this for years – funding is always the issue given for why the program can’t be expanded to the Creek. So if there is no money for the management and education required with this increased use how does the Councillor see this in the best interest of the Ravines and natural environment?

    The fact is large infrastructure projects such as this are easy ‘wins’ for Councillors – “Hey, look what I did to better our community!” Elections are just around the corner and this is no doubt on the minds of elected officials.

    If you are still reading this, thanks, but I would offer another name to your list:

    Etobicoke/ Mimico Creek Watershed Coalition (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority)
    Vince D’Elia, Project Manager at vdelia@trca.on.ca
    416-661-6600, ext. 5367

    I think it would be worth reaching out to Vince to talk.

    Happy to discuss this further with anyone. Executive council will not officially adopt the Ravine Management Strategy (which I assume they will) until later this year but these projects should still be held to the protocols which have been set out in the document. Right now, I question how a project such as this fits in.



    Good luck with this.

    Similar things have been going on for the last decade up here in Newmarket/Holland Landing. In particular, one forest was paved through to make a wheelchair accessible path through the forest. While I don’t disagree with the concept, but what they did to the forest during its construction was eye opening (besides the fact that some single track was literally paved over).



    I haven’t ridden the Etobicoke Creek trails once this season. The area under construction, at Eglington, is an important connection when riding the east and west ridges. In its present state, an access path surrounded with barricades, it is nearly impossible to piece together a worthwhile loop. The damage is extensive. This, combined with the overgrown and unmaintained singletrack, makes it a pretty unfulfilling ride. I have however ridden up the gravel path along the creek as part of my big urban loop. Or rather, I did.

    The creek is now 100% paved from the section mentioned above all the way up to the airport. It actually goes beyond the airport and is even paved behind the ball diamond that leads you under Tomken. No natural surfaces remain.

    That leg of the Creek under the 407/410 lands, which is nothing more than a 4×4 bog, was really the only portion that did require resurfacing as it was impassable by most. Unlike the make-work project they have undertaken, repairing this area serves a purpose, connecting the trail from north to south. So they’ve successfully paved a trail that still takes you nowhere and is not linked to remaining paved trail beyond.


    Renegade Hardware

    The government has no idea what they are doing these days it seems.



    So, very last minute I went to open house for this (https://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=8ea5c4e4612dd510VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=b1d9e1ee6bb0a410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD ) last night.

    It was a rather informal affair – mostly just a chance to add your .02 and take a look at a some info graphs, poster boards, maps etc.

    However, what I did find terribly interesting was the number of attendees that were in favour of MORE paved trail along the Etobicoke Creek – yup, you read that correctly.

    Since I was in an inquisitive mood, I decided to ask one women why she felt that paved trails were a good idea/ necessary in the ravine. Her response was, “Well, it is so terribly hard to walk on those trails with all the roots, rocks and uneven surfaces.” To which I suggested that was kinda the idea behind natural surface trails. I prodded a little further and she offered that the worst part is in the Winter when she can’t walk on the trails. To which I countered that the City doesn’t/ wasn’t going to plow the trail in the Winter so how is paved path any different from a natural surface trail once it was covered in snow or ice? She replied that “It just was.” She then added that another reason it must be paved was so that she could use a stroller, for her grandchildren, on the trail which she currently couldn’t do on a natural surface trail…. at this point I agreed to disagree.

    As I was about to make my exit I was approached by the CoT staff member and asked if I cared to talk further about trails and the ravines (HA!). After my usually plug for more Community Stewardship groups with a focus towards trails and the need to actually fund the many projects and recommendation that the city already has in NETS. It also dawned on me to suggest that perhaps they should add another infograph/ poster board about how ‘soft surfaces ‘ and green spaces are crucial for storm water management. Without getting into it too much by paving in the ravines we are preventing the ravines from doing their job – absorbing and safely getting rid of water during major storm events (which, seem to be happening more frequently). (Former) Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat speaks about this quite often and it is certainly a key component to the Ravine Management Strategy.

    But I digress, fact is it would seen there are many vocal users advocating for further paving. Hopefully their voices aren’t the only ones being hear.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    I was in the creek walking my dog this weekend.
    Really surprised to see they paved the whole section on the west side of the creek from Burnamthorpe to the first bridge over the creek.
    I thought only the east side was being done.
    I guess walking on crushed limestone wasn’t good enough.
    Funny how there are strict guidelines regarding residential land being surfaced with impermeable materials (driveway extensions etc.) due to water overflow into the sewer systems but they can pave over huge swaths of land beside a creek.
    Where I used to live in the Parklawn area I saw the paving of natural paths along the Humber River and Lake Ontario, and where I live now they are doing the same thing at Sam Smith Park.
    Always in the name of accessibility, where the conversation ends.
    I get that they want to make areas more accessible but it has to be done sensibly which I have yet to see…



    Really surprised to see they paved the whole section on the west side of the creek from Burnamthorpe to the first bridge over the creek.
    I thought only the east side was being done.

    It’s all part of the Rapid Transit masterplan. Totally makes sense from that perspective, ride your Ebike or scooter from the ‘burbs to mass transit. From a purely infrastructure point of view it’s logical but these are green spaces and gravel is more appropriate. It’s a lot easier for them to pave paths in green spaces than deal with those opposing bike lanes. (though they did add some along Ellington). No one really put up much of a counter to the paving until it was well in motion.

    It’s too late now but I think it’s quite unfortunate that we couldn’t have been part of a stewardship effort which might have had a stronger voice in preventing this. Even 30 bodies with a common goal could have had an impact. Cleary from OP, there are other trail users who shared our views.



    As sad as it seems this isn’t an argument that is going to be won any time soon.

    Quite simply, if you argue against accessibility you are going to be seen as a monster. There is no way a councillor, or another elected official, is going to find on the side of the naysayers – it would be political suicide. In an age where everyone gets ribbon ‘just for coming out’ should we really be surprised? Entitlement sucks.

    If the very entity that is entrusted to protect the Ravines, the TRCA, allows this kind of work to be completed I fear there is a long uphill battle ahead. I saw the same thing while on vacation in Tobermory this Summer. The ‘trail’ that once lead out to the Grotto has been transformed in a crushed gravel path wide enough for a Gator. A similar path was also created on Flower Pot Island – these are National Parks, all in the name of accessibility, allowing everyone to experience these places not matter what the cost.

    As an aside, if these MUPs are part of a larger transit plan then I would expect them to be maintained in the Winter so they are actually a viable source of infrastructure (like the Martin Goodman Trail). However, that seems unlikely for several reasons not the least of which is getting the two municipalities (Toronto and Mississauga) who share the trail to agree on who would pay for the maintenance.



    You’re 100% correct. I certainly want everyone to have access to everything I do but there has to be a limit. We can’t pave everything and not everything will be 100% accessible to everyone, no matter how much we would want that.

    I don’t think cyclist, hikers and dog walkers complaining about preferring gravel is reason enough to have prevented this. But I think the level of destruction to fulfil this and further environmental damage (icing the path in the winter and runoff) could have been better voiced by the community and respected by the TRCA. A stewardship group for the trails, here or in other ravines, might have also been able to minimize damage to existing trails should they have been formalized with a community behind them. They are mandated to pave the gravel path, great, but here are other users concerns.


    Renegade Hardware

    Are there any wooded areas remaining that could be home to newer trails? I know ‘new’ trails is a dangerous topic with the city, but if they’ve paved the existing ones……



    They haven’t paved the ‘dirt’ trails, yet. This was an existing gravel section along the creek. So we’re lucky the singletrack wasn’t lost. Only some entrances and exits were damaged..


    Renegade Hardware

    Ah gotcha, it read as if the changes removed your trail network you were working on.

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