Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wood Green Ravine

This week will likely see the end of the Wood Green Ravine. A 4 year battle to save this young forested site in West Hill has come to an end and developers will soon start to clear cut the nearly 2000 trees.

Earlier this week over 30 local residents braved nearly freezing rain at 7:30 in the morning to block the developers entrance to the site.

The Ravine is a five acre site, located near Lawrence Ave. E. and Manse Road behind the new 43 Division Police Station. This wonderful site has more than 1200 trees, plus an additional 800 saplings, and many types of bushes and flowers. It is the home to abundant wildlife including white tailed deer, fox, raccoons and a wide variety of birds. It is both a resting and feeding ground for the monarch butterfly on its migration to Mexico. The Ravine is used by people of all ages for playing, walking, exploring, meeting, or enjoying the fruits of a huge blackberry patch!

All of this, however, is about to come to an end. The City of Toronto, as owners of the property, have sold it to a developer for the construction of 60 affordable houses. The development plans call for the site to be clear-cut, so that not a single blade of grass will remain!

There are many reasons to save this environmentally sensitive woodlot. In addition to being a community meeting place and treasure, and a home to birds and animals, the trees help act as a carbon sink removing pollutants from the air, helping moderate the air quality in the area. The Ravine borders on an industrial site along Coronation Drive with a large concentration of chemical industries. The area has been identified as having the fifth highest toxic chemical emissions in the City of Toronto!

With continued population growth, all wild areas are now precious but they are especially critical where, by some miracle, that wilderness can still be found the heart of a City of three million, the economic engine of an entire nation. In such a large city it is easy to loose sight of the fact that we are a part of nature. And if we loose Woodgreen Ravine, it will be harder still to hold onto that knowledge.

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