Councillor Ron Moeser,
Ward 44 Scarborough East
William Dempsey Eco Park system has been cleaned up
In 1999, the William Dempsey Eco Park system was officially opened. It was named after the late Bill Dempsey, a founding member of the CCRA and dedicated community conservationist.
The Eco Park system is part of the stormwater management ponds that make up the Centennial Creek sub-watershed, which is part of the larger Highland Creek watershed. Through the 1990s the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in partnership with the city looked at ways to improve the water quality, loss and fragmentation of wildlife habitat, fluctuating storm water levels, erosion, and loss of aquatic habitat and aquatic life. The outcome was a stormwater management plan that would improve all those things and also enhance the quality of life in the community by utilizing its lands for outdoor recreation.
The Centennial Creek sub-watershed stormwater strategy was designed to clean the water run-off from the 401 and local roads before it enters the creek system that flows from Willowlea Drive just south of the 401, through Highland Creek and the Centennial community, eventually making its way to Lake Ontario.
There are three sites in the Highland Creek community that make up the Eco Park system:
- The headwaters on lands northeast of the intersection of Willowlea and Scarboro Ave.
- The property on the north side of Ellesmere Rd. just west of Meadowvale Rd.
- The stormwater management pond on the east side of Meadowvale between Kingston and Ellesmere Rds.
The Centennial Creek Implementation Advisory Committee promoted the park to their neighbours and advised the city on the design of the Eco Park. The outcome of this work was a trail system around the ponds that allowed for a peaceful walk as well as viewing points from park benches.
Over the years, due to aggressive and invasive phragmite grass, the trail system and surrounding green spaces have deteriorated. Phragmite grasses can grow up to five metres in height and crowd out native vegetation, resulting in decreased plant and wildlife biodiversity. The plant has obstructed access to some of the trails and had a negative impact on the overall enjoyment of the Eco Park green spaces.
My office has been working closely with staff from Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Toronto Water and local community advocate Blair Anderson (from the Highland Creek Community Association) to bring the condition of these parks back to what was envisioned by the community.
- Trails have been cleaned up.
- Broken or decaying park benches have been removed.
- Vegetation along the paths has been pruned and dead trees and large dead branches have been removed.
- Grass has been trimmed around the ponds.
- Two decayed footbridges have been replaced with ramps and a third footbridge has been replaced with a new wooden bridge.
- Centennial College has indicated an interest in monitoring the natural environment and assisting with reducing the invasive weed growth.
The trails are now part of the Parks staff schedule for regular maintenance, so we won't see the trail system return to an unmanaged condition. If you are interested in volunteering as a park steward or have suggestions to improve the Centennial Eco Park, contact my office.
Please come out and participate in our Community Clean-Up Day on Saturday, April 22. Don’t forget to pick up your free compost! Details will be posted on my website: www.ronmoeser.ca.