Public engagement and consultation strengthen the Swim Drink Fish movement. The Scarborough Waterfront Project on Lake Ontario proves it. Paving over Grey Abbey beach was proposed. Public engagement occurred. Amendments to preserve the beach resulted.
On May 14, 2018, Mark Mattson, President and Waterkeeper, addressed the City of Toronto's Executive Committee. He was one of 17 deputants speaking about the Scarborough Waterfront Project. This agenda item had more public deputations than any other.
Mark Mattson addressed the importance of restoring shorelines to maintain our connection with Lake Ontario. In his deputation, he refers to Regeneration, a report from 1991 outlining the future of Toronto’s waterfront. The report recommends improving access to Toronto’s waterfront for recreation and restoring the city’s hardened shorelines.
The report’s 26 year old recommendations are just as important today.
After 17 deputations and discussion amongst committee members, the Executive Committee amended the Scarborough Waterfront Project’s original proposal.
Here is an excerpt from the May 14, 2018 Executive Committee Meeting Minutes:
6. City Council request the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, in consultation with appropriate City staff, to:
a. maximize, maintain and/or create new sandy shorelines, including a further review of key sand shorelines such as Grey Abbey;
b. explore ways to protect existing wave conditions;
c. include public amenities such accessible washroom facilities, through continued engagement of interested stakeholders during the detailed design process,
This is good news for a swimmable, drinkable, fishable Lake Ontario. Public consultation helped protect a natural beach. Let’s use this example as a reminder to raise our voices and get involved in government decision-making processes.
After all, Toronto’s shorelines connect the city to one of its greatest treasures - Lake Ontario.
The Scarborough Waterfront Project goes before the City of Toronto's City Council at the May 22-24, 2018 meeting.
To learn more about the Executive Committee’s discussion on the Scarborough Waterfront Project, read the meeting minutes here.