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Good news for Toronto's Rouge Park
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Author:  Erhard [ February 25th, 2013, 2:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Good news for Toronto's Rouge Park

from today's Star: protection guaranteed. That's no minor thing when establishing a National Park within a mega urban area....

The Ontario government has finalized a deal to transfer a large tract of land on Toronto’s eastern border to the federal government, clearing one of the last hurdles before the creation of the Rouge National Urban Park, the Star has learned.
According to an email obtained by the Star from a provincial government employee with knowledge of the agreement, the deal to hand over Rouge Park will guarantee the maintenance of existing environmental protections, a key standard local activists worried would be downgraded. ... _says.html

Author:  frozentripper [ February 25th, 2013, 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Good news for Toronto's Rouge Park

This is a very interesting development (pardon the pun) since national parks are usually created to protect nature first, and everything else is a lower priority. The Rouge river is not pristine, and there are plenty of stresses that have caused some degradation in the watershed... the last paragraph below suggests that there's going to be a compromise of sorts.

Just how much of a compromise is Parks Canada going to allow? For instance, there are exotic rainbow trout and pacific salmon migrating upstream. Exotic species usually aren't encouraged in national parks, except maybe in an urban park - there could be an exception.

Just how natural is the Rouge Park going to be... I expect Parks Canada to identify some criteria once the park plan is in place... it'll be very interesting to see what's determined to be "natural" and what isn't.

While all national parks have the same tough environmental standards, the Rouge will be different. Because of the existing farming that goes on within the park boundaries, a separate category of national park that adds the moniker “urban” is being created. Exactly how much protection for nature this new category of park will offer remains of major concern to those who have fought to preserve the Rouge, though the wording of this deal goes a long way to calming those fears.

Author:  Erhard [ February 26th, 2013, 6:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Good news for Toronto's Rouge Park

I won't be upset if they have zones of different protection, that would fit its history.

Before it was designated as park land, it was typical southern Ontario farm country with a river valley that had road crossings, a few hamlets and even a bit of cottage life.
Then came hurricane Hazel and flushed many cottages out of the ravines - in consequence the city did a wise thing and got rid of all the cottages, including the ones in the Rouge valley. In the 70's they needed a close-by and large tract for the Zoo - ans so that grabbed a large piece of land. Not exactly protection but not sprawling development either. Then the city/GTA designated this valley a park - that was a big step before the acquisition of further land that has not been built up.

So now it is a mixture of farm land and river valley, with some really neat nature in the lower flood plain. But the upper area includes some politically hot potatoes: farm land that the owners had hoped to sell at a good price for development and that's now out. One of the sham arguments has been that a traditional use of the land has been stopped by returning it to nature - so farming is considered OK there but housing/industrial development not. The park designation is here to stay.

Author:  frozentripper [ February 26th, 2013, 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Good news for Toronto's Rouge Park

Another feature on the Rouge that will be interesting to watch is how all those dams and weirs will be managed... from what I've been able to gather from the TRCA and MNR, there are more than just a few. During the nineties there were both pro-dam and anti-dam arguments.

I agree that the Rouge is a gem well worth protecting, especially with the urban development that's building up all around. A few years ago, I walked a day-long section starting at the zoo boundary and working upstream, very nice. I'm sure I saw brook trout in some of the pools, an indicator that the river is still relatively healthy.

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