Plans regarding sand beach at Marie Curtis Park: Response from Kenneth Dion, Toronto and Region Conservation

Update: An August 6, 2013 post, among others in the Etobicoke Creek Category at this website, provides an update to this post.

[End of update]

In previous blog posts, I’ve described plans discussed in the context of the Mississauga Waterfront Connection Environmental Assessment Project regarding the sand beach at Marie Curtis Park between Etobicoke Creek and Applewood Creek.

The sand beach was also part of our walking conversation during the May 5, 2013 Jane’s Walk in Long Branch from Etobicoke Creek to the Colonel’s homestead site. As well, it may be noted that David Switzer has added a comment at a subsequent blog post regarding the following message from Kenneth Dion.

Kenneth Dion, Manager, Special Projects – Project Management Office, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA), has shared the following email response to an earlier email from Jaan Pill regarding the sand beach at Marie Curtis Park

Kenneth Dion has given me permission to post the response to the Preserved Stories website. Following his response, I have posted my earlier message regarding the sand beach at Marie Curtis Park.

Mr. Dion’s response affirms my sense that the Mississauga Waterfront Connection E.A. Project and all other initiatives related to the redevelopment of the Lakeview Area demonstrate an exemplary communications strategy and a strong focus on ensuring that meaningful input from residents is an integral part of the planning process.

I follow stories related to community input related to planning projects in both Toronto and Mississauga. Knowing about the work that is being done on both sides of the border, to ensure that citizen input is taken into account in a meaningful way, is a source of tremendous inspiration for me.

Kenneth Dion writes:

Dear Mr. Pill

Thank you for your emails and I do apologize for the delay in our response.

First off, I wanted to thank you for your kind words about the process we have undertaken regarding our consultation for the Lakeview Waterfront Connection EA. We firmly believe that any such major investment in the future of the community requires strong public engagement. We have the benefit of a highly educated, passionate and engaged community in the Lakeview area and we have strived to reflect or at least address concerns and issues raised throughout the process.

I did want to provide some clarification to your specific question regarding whether Marie Curtis Park provides the “last remaining natural beach in the Toronto area”. Based on the topic in question, I am assuming that the implication is that “sand beaches” are deemed to be “natural beaches”. In reality, there are many natural beaches on Lake Ontario and other Great Lakes that consist of rocks that are significantly larger than sand. As such, when we propose the creation of a cobble beach in the area, these are materials that would be deemed “natural” in the context for the area – the beach at Rattray Marshes is a good example of a cobble beach.

However, I will assume that the question is intended to inquire whether Marie Curtis Park provides the “last remaining sand beach in the Toronto area”. There are several sand beaches remaining in the Toronto area. The most extensive is Woodbine Beach in Toronto which was formed through the deposition of sand eroded from the Scarborough Bluffs. Other sand beaches can be found on the Toronto Islands, Bluffers Park and at the mouth of the Rouge River. More locally, sand beaches are found along the City of Mississauga shoreline at the Suncor Energy site and Fusion Park near Oakville.

During our last Public Meeting and through subsequent conversations that followed, including your own emails, we did hear a fairly strong desire from the community to retain the sand beach at Marie Curtis Park West to the extent possible. As you are aware, the majority of Alternatives considered did not extend very far into the Marie Curtis Park area. However, those Alternatives required significant hardened structures to stop the Alternative from extending into the Marie Curtis Park area. The Preferred Alternative proposed a shoreline configuration that did not require such a hardeneded structure in the east end, as the intent was to have the cobble beach blend into the sand beaches as it approached Etobicoke Creek in a more natural fashion, and was part of the reason why the alternative was selected.

Following the receipt of those comments, the LWC Project Team challenged our Coastal Engineer to explore how the majority of positive features of the Preferred Alernative could be retained while maximizing, to the extent possible, the existing sand beaches at Marie Curtis Park. This exercise to the Coastal Engineer has resulted in a delay in our schedule for reporting back to the public by a few weeks, but I believe he has developed a solution that will go a long way in addressing concerns raised by members of the public about the sand beach.

If you have any further comments or questions, please feel free to contact me or Michael Charendoff.

Sincerely

Kenneth Dion, MSc
Manager, Special Projects

Earlier email message from Jaan Pill to Michael Charendoff/TRCA

—– Forwarded by Michael Charendoff/TRCA on 05/09/2013 11:59 AM —–

From: Jaan Pill
To: Michael Charendoff ,
Date: 04/10/2013 10:51 AM
Subject: Re: Comments regarding Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project Environmental Assessment

Hello Michael

Good to read your message. I’ve copied this message to people connected with Long Branch who may have an interest in the topic.

Some people I’ve met, on the street or at a local supermarket, have asked me about the plans regarding the beach between Etobicoke Creek and Applewood Creek in Marie Curtis Park.

I’ve suggested they may wish to speak with you if they have questions or thoughts they may wish to share.

My thoughts

1. My own thoughts have to do with the memory of the mouth of Etobicoke Creek:

https://preservedstories.com/2011/11/12/355/

But that was then and this is now.

2. I would be interested if there is evidence that you are aware of to back up or refute a comment shared by a Long Branch resident that the beach in question may be the last remaining “natural beach” in the Toronto area.

By natural I assume the reference may be to the fact that the sand still functions in the way that sand functions in a natural beach.

3. With regard to my own thoughts about the current beach proposal, I would say that it’s wonderful to have a natural beach.

I would also say that, as I’ve mentioned, I’m impressed with the communications associated with the Mississauga Waterfront Connection process. That inspires in me a sense of confidence. I have faith in the quality of the deliberations, and in the process by which community input is taken into account, at all stages that I have observed in the course of the planning process.

If in the end a pebble beach makes the most sense, in the current circumstances and in the larger scheme of things, then perhaps that is the way to go. However, that’s my personal view, based on a limited understanding of the facts and options, and others may have other views.

4. It’s my hope that the concerns and views of Long Branch residents will be taken into account, whatever those concerns and views may be.

Best,

Jaan Pill

 

5 replies
  1. Elaine Gurney
    Elaine Gurney says:

    Hello Jaan
    Thanks so much for this post. Although I walk the beach at least once a week I was unaware of this proposal. I have sent off e-mails to the mayor, Mark Grimes and Kenneth. Do you know if anyone is flyering the community with this info or whether signs have been posted by anyone in the park to inform them of the imminent threat to the sand beach?
    Thanks
    Elaine

    Reply
  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Hello Elaine

    Good to read your message. I’m pleased I happened to learn of the plans when an email was sent to me with an overview.

    My contribution to the conversation has consisted of the posting of the information about the plans on the Preserved Stories website, and the posting of subsequent correspondence about it.

    Mike James and I also had the opportunity to share information about the plans for the sand beach at the Jane’s Walk that we organized for May 5, 2013. The Jane’s Walk is – or can be, for those who want to use such an approach, as walk leaders – in the nature of a conversation. The sand beach was a topic of extensive conversation during our walk.

    I have not seen any flyers in the community or posting of signs.

    Best,

    Jaan

    Reply
  3. Jake Yoo
    Jake Yoo says:

    Hi Jaan,

    I attended the most recent Public Information Centre (PIC) on April 3, 2013, which was the second Evironmental Assessment PIC for the project known as Lakeview Waterfront Connection. While I do commend the organizers based on their open-process, willingness to listen and share information I had burning question cross the back of my mind…”Who is representing the City of Toronto’s concerns at this meeting?” Please take a look at the materials we reviewed that night on the following website. http://www.creditvalleyca.ca/planning-permits/planning-services/environmental-assessment/lakeview-waterfront-connection/
    “Island C” was presented as the preferred approach and was compared and contrasted with the other approaches. “Island C” plans are also the only plans that impact the sandy beach on the west-end of Marie Curtis Park.

    At the end of the night, we were asked to gather in groups, discuss the presentation materials and table any issues. By chance I delightfully sat down at a table with a couple of long-time Lake Promenade residents and we tackled and voiced our concerns as residents of Longbranch. When it was our turn to speak we brought up our concerns of the impact on the existing sandy beach on the westend of Marie Curtis park. Kenneth Dion attempted to answer this, but left me with the impression that the current sandy beach will be replaced with larger granules of cobblestone-like fill.

    I do suggest that you and any readers stumbling upon this comment register for future Lakeview Waterfront Connection meetings by emailing Michael Charendoff, mcharendoff@trca.on.ca, as the website instructs. I happened to stumble upon the meeting myself by registering my email address for updates on the City of Mississauga’s Lakeview Inspiration website — http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/inspirationlakeview.

    Lastly, I suggest reaching out to our city councillor Mark Grimes at grimes@toronto.ca or call 416-397-9273 and ask him his thoughts on the impact on Marie Curtis park by Lakeview Waterfront Connection and express your concerns that it appeared that there was a lack of prencense by the City of Toronto during the last PIC, and perhaps our voice is not being strongly heard.

    While I believe that the Lakeview Waterfront Connection project will bring a lot of positive change to the area, I would not want to sacrifice an amazing sandy beach, and Toronto’s only sandy beach on the Westend to cobblestone.

    Cheers,
    Jake
    Longbranch resident on Lake Promenade

    Reply
  4. Ann Gates
    Ann Gates says:

    I also walk the beaches almost every day. The idea that we would pay money to cover up a sandy beach with cobble stones is just hard to understand. People take vacations to go to the beaches around the world and pay big $$ to live by beaches. I can’t see parents walking kids through cobblestones to go into the water or play on the rocks. Already the east side of the beach front has been reduced by about 50%, by the decision to build the board walk through the middle of the beach, as opposed to placing it north side of the trees. Then planting shrubs to obscure the view of the lake and remove any chance to sit in the shade of the trees and watch the water or kids swimming. Already this area is being infested with weeds, which will undoubtedly not be removed. Given the choice, most of us would have preferred the original sandy beach and mown grass to this alternative. My cynical viewpoint would be that this is all being driven by a desire to cut any upkeep of the park by the city.
    People who agree with this need to contact Mark Grimes and Project managers and get organized to protest before this is too late!

    Reply
  5. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Hi Anne,

    Good to read your message. I will post your message as a separate blog post to bring attention to it. As has been noted in several comments, it’s important for people to express their views by writing emails to Councillor Grimes and managers at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

    Best,

    Jaan

    Reply

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