Concord West Greenspace in Jeopardy!
The community of Concord West in the City of Vaughan, Ontario, is engaged in a David & Goliath fight to save from destruction the Concord West Greenspace - a natural heritage land and ecological niche that has been enjoyed by the community for generations but is now being targeted for conversion into a massive intermodal transportation hub. This land forms a central link in the Bartley Smith Greenway at the point where the Greenway is at its narrowest and winds down the West Don River course to Marita Payne Park. It is a natural habitat of many species of plants, birds and animals; at least two endangered species: Blanding’s Turtle and the Common Nighthawk have been sighted on it, as have some Special Concern Species at Risk, including the Great Blue Heron. For the Concord West community, surrounded on three sides by highways, fumes and concrete, this land is the only green breathing-space within a reasonable walking distance, and constitutes the only safe pedestrian connection between the Concord West community and the Bartley Smith Greenway/Langstaff Ecopark. Yet this greenspace is being targeted for destruction, as the Ministry of Transportation is planning to locate there a giant intermodal (407/bus/train) transportation hub associated with the projected Concord GO Station.
The hub is supposed to serve a not-yet-existing putative population projected to appear, in the future, north of Highway #7. Therefore it would be logical to locate the hub north of Highway #7. But instead, the MTO's present plan locates it south of Highway #7, where it is neither needed nor wanted by the existing Concord West community, and where its construction and its presence will destroy the existing local natural greenspace and wildlife habitat as well as the cultural and social fabric of this existing community.
The community's fight centers on three demands:
(1) Transfer of the ownership of the Concord West Greenspace from its present owner (the Ontario Realty Corporation) to the TRCA, so it can be incorporated into the Bartley Smith Greenway;
(2) Re-location of the Ministry of Transportation's planned transportation hub to the NORTH of Highway #7, to the industrial/commercial lands where it belongs, away from the Concord West community and from the fragile ecological community of its sorely-pressed wildlife neighbours. The residents of Concord West, with the help of a professional town-planner, devised an appropriate alternative plan for the hub. The plan was unanimously approved in a general meeting of the community and has been submitted to the MTO; and
(3) Restoration of the community's safe access, through the Concord West Greenspace, to the Bartley Smith Greenway/Langstaff Ecopark - access which the community has enjoyed for generations and which, in recent years, has been unlawfully curtailed by the fencing-in of the Greenspace.
For background information and latest developments in this ongoing struggle, please see http://www.saveconcordwest.org .