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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Heritage and Environment

A couple of issues continue to raise concerns among councillors and supporters of heritage and the environment.


One concern is the future of the Meadowlily Bridge. This pedestrian bridge will celebrate its 100th birthday next year. A couple of months ago, in response to public concerns Council voted to recognize it as a heritage structure and to find ways to protect it. However, staff brought forward a report urging us to do an Environmental Assessment as part of the overall Meadowlily Area Plan. That would essentially pave the way for its demolition. Fortunately, I was able to raise concerns about this at the Council Meeting on September 23 and with the help of my colleagues, especially Joni Baechler, was able to ensure that before we undertake a Class EA we will have a structural analysis of the bridge to determine the feasibility of restoration rather than replacement. I want to thank the Friends of Meadowlily, especially Gary Smith, for all the hard work they are doing on this.
Supporting the structural analysis were: Controllers Barber and Polhill, and Councillors Macdonald, Winninger, Usher, Orser, Lonc, Eagle, Baechler, Branscombe an Bryant.
Opposing the motion were Mayor DeCicco Best, Deputy Mayor Gosnell, Controller Hume and Councilors Van Meerbergen, Miller, Caranci and Hubert.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

Another issue that generated a lot of public interest is a proposal to construct a multi-use pathway linking the east end of Gainsborough to the west end of Windermere Road through the Medway Valley Heritage Forest and Elsie Perrin Williams Estate. The 3 metre wide pavement would provide easy connections for cyclists and skaters but would cut through an environmentally sensitive area (ESA) causing much concern among environmentalists who made it clear at the public participation meeting last week that "an ESA is not a park". Council supported the committee recommendation to have staff and the consultant go back over the city's recreation master plan in light of the public comments and to report back at a future meeting of the Community and Protective Services Committee (CPSC) with a revised Draft Master Plan for the consideration of the CPSC.

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