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What's going on in the Creek?

I’ve had my steel-toe boots on lately. After we got a call from a resident concerned about its progress, I wanted to tour a massive project underway in Don Valley North called the Duncan Creek Restoration.

The Restoration was actually consulted on with the community around Cliffwood Park back in 2012. I wasn't the Councillor of that neighbourhood at the time, so I needed to see it for myself.

While the community liaison for the project walked me through the details, my talented videographer, Yasmin Parodi, had the project manager relay information for you on camera. I want to share the video with you here because, as many of you know, Duncan Creek is not the only water course in our Ward that needs similar attention.

This is a massive project. The creek has been virtually turned off, its water now contained and re-directed into a giant pipe so bulldozers can re-establish the course of the creek and shore up the eroded banks with huge stones.

As I walked through it, I started thinking about Newtonbrook Creek. This is another creek facing erosion and other challenges from nature and especially from man-made nuisances.

I’ve been working hard to make sure that the Toronto Region Conservation Authority hears the voices of the passionate residents who surround Newtonbrook Creek. But standing in the middle of the Duncan Creek Restoration Project in my boots and hard hat, I began to realize the enormous cost and disruption that will one day be necessary to protect any creek that needs to be kept alive through these types of interventions.

We're not called Don Valley North for nothing. If you look at a satellite map of our ward, you'll realize our beautiful greenery is largely because of the East Don system that runs through us.

I decided it was time to take my team on a hike and make sure they had a full appreciation for it, like you do. We went on a morning when we had no back-to-back virtual meetings lined up (for once!) and met at Leslie and Sheppard to hike up Newtonbrook Creek. I didn’t have to drag them. By the end of the 7.5 km hike, my team was fascinated and encouraged their old boss to keep going.

The biggest eye-opener for my team was the number of people enjoying the trails on that very hot day. Nowadays, we know so much more about the importance of lifelong fitness. We all know our environment is precious and vulnerable.

Knowing this, Don Valley residents take full advantage of our rivers, creeks and ravines. It’s very different to my childhood days in the Sixties when kids would play in those ravines and rarely be interrupted by an adult. Ours were the only bikes down there and only occasionally would an older adult walk by with a dog.

When the concept of restoring the Duncan Creek was first brought to the community, we didn’t have all the tools we do now for gathering information and input. As future work on the Creek comes forward, my team and I will make sure you are in-the-know by making informative videos like the one above, posting the details on our website under the "Current Events" tab and, of course, on my social media platforms. Even during a pandemic, we can't forget about protecting our precious natural environment. And when our environment needs attention, you can be sure my Don Valley North team and I will always find a way to share what's going on with you. You all know this about me by now — I strongly believe all work in our community should always have your stamp on it.


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