Last month, we asked our readers how the six acres of vacant land on Bridgeport Drive could be made useful. The fenced area is owned by the TDSB and the TCDSB, but neither school board has plans to build there in the near future. They are open to the possibility of using the property for a purpose that would enhance the community.

We received a letter (printed below) that suggested a public garden with fruit trees that could be tended by students. We also heard suggestions for a baseball diamond, outdoor skating rink or cricket pitch.

If you have some good ideas, please bring them to to the CCRA meeting on Tuesday, March 5 at 7:15 p.m. at the Port Union C.C. where we will be discussing ways to utilize this empty space.

Letter from Natalia Erager

My suggestion for the Bridgeport lot is the planting of a public fruit garden that would be accessible to the community. Apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees, and sour cherry trees could be planted along with wild strawberries, which would function as a lawn but do not require maintenance or cutting. The plants don’t grow high and they would protect the topsoil like a lawn does. We could also introduce plants for monarchs. This project could have huge benefits for the community. For example:

  1. The students at Mowat and Joseph Howe could participate in this project for a sustainable community. By taking part in it, they will learn to value their participation as they will see how their work is growing and they will enjoy the fruits of their labour later on. They will be busier so they may not do stupid things caused by boredom. In this way, the two school boards would accomplish an educational goal for this land.
  2. Trees are beneficial for the environment, regardless of the type of tree.
  3. Community members would have access to the fruit. This opportunity alone may have a huge impact on sustainability, obesity (many families with children cannot buy enough fruit because it is too expensive), greenhouse gases (transportation is not required), introduction to natural foods without herbicides and pesticides, and getting acquainted with heirloom tastes that most of us have forgotten or simply don’t know as we buy commercialized varieties in supermarkets.
  4. Spring blossoms, summer and fall colours, and the aroma of wild strawberries in the breeze will make our community even more attractive – and famous.
  5. This garden could serve as a park as well as an educational space for students from nearby schools who may be given the opportunity to do green projects there.

To have such benefits, the garden should be thoroughly planned, including dwarf trees for easier picking, compliant varieties for abundant  fruiting, and the closeness of trees for pollination.