Friday, November 28, 2014

CITY'S PRESENTATION LAST NIGHT ON SAM SMITH PARK AS AN "ENVIRONMENTALLY SIGNIFICANT AREA" - FOSS CALL FOR SUPPORT!

Last night, a number of members of Friends of Sam Smith Park and other interested parties went to the Etobicoke Civic Centre to take part in the City's Official Plan Review Open House. Planning staff were there to present their draft proposals for changes to the OP's Neighbourhoods and Environment policies.

We were there to support the proposed designation of Sam Smith Park as an Environmentally Significant Area and to lobby for the addition of two more sections of our park to the area already identified.  (For a link to the staff report on ESA's and
FOSS's map and description of those additional areas, see these two previous FOSS posts).

The Environment presentation was impressive.  The intent of the draft policies is to strengthen and build upon existing policies and they include, to further protect "natural heritage", 68 new Environmentally Significant Areas - Sam Smith Park being one of them.

There are four criteria the City uses to identify an ESA ..... 
  1. It provides habitat for rare and endangered species
  2. The habitat is large and contains a high diversity of flora and fauna
  3. It has rare nor unusual landforms
  4. It provides important ecological functions such as serving as a stopover location for migratory wildlife
Number four is the one that probably applies most strongly to the two additional areas identified by FOSS. (Most of the lakefill section south of the Waterfront Trail already meets the requirements.)
 
Remember, the City of Toronto Parks Department has already identified Sam Smith as a "bird sanctuary", an important link in the continental, migratory bird flyway system.  You can see the pamphlet they produced that illustrates this on a previous FOSS post.

Staff seemed impressed by the FOSS turnout and the passion we  expressed to support our suggestions.

There is still an opportunity to take part in the discussion and to promote FOSS's goals (Yes to Sam Smith as an ESA and yes to the additional areas!)  More support would be very helpful.  The City has an online Discussion Guide where questions designed to get your feedback on the draft policies can be submitted from home.This is the link to the survey.  The Environmentally Significant Areas is on the third page and the "submit" button on the last.  The deadline is December 5th.

Additional comments can also be emailed to "Toronto Sustainable City". 

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