At the Council Meeting of March 29, 2021, Mayor Pellegrini put forward a Notice of Motion, seconded by Councillor Cescolini, Re: Oak Ridges Moraine (“ORM”) Proposed Resolution in Support of Establishment of East Humber Headwaters Park.
The Township of King has long supported the preservation and expansion of natural heritage areas and the objectives of the Greenbelt Plan and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.
In addition to supporting the protection and appreciation of natural areas through land-use practices that will protect biodiversity and maintain, improve or restore elements that contribute to the eco logical and hydrological functions of the ORM.
There is a unique opportunity to achieve the objectives of the Greenbelt Plan and the Oak Ridges Conservation Plan and more specifically, to enhance the ecological quality and natural habitats of one of the most critical linkage areas in King Township and Richmond Hill and make it open and accessible to Ontarians as a landmark public space in the heart of York Region.
One of the most critical Natural Linkage areas in the ORM Conservation Plan consists of lands in King running north-south from the 15th Sideroad to King Road, between Dufferin Street and Bathurst Street, including significant tributaries and headwaters of the East Humber River.
These lands measure 207 hectares in size, are privately owned, are currently in an agricultural state and therefore not fulfilling its intended critical linkage function, and unable to support the healthy ecosystems and biodiversity that the ORM Conservation Plan intended.
The owner of these lands filed an application to develop the lands and further filed an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board, the predecessor to the Local Planning and Appeal Tribunal which, if successful, would allow resort-type accommodation and a golf course that would permanently eliminate the ability to bring the majority of these lands into public ownership.
The owner of the property has advised the Township of King that it is prepared to abandon the appeal and forego any potential development of its lands in exchange for the transfer to the current landowner of provincially-owned developable land in another location.
The proposed East Humber Headwaters Park has previously been endorsed by the Township of King by resolution dated December 11, 2017 as well as by the Regional Municipality of York, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the City of Toronto.
The Province of Ontario has previously secured and protected large land areas for the purpose of conservation and recreation, including lands in: the Rouge River Valley; Bronte Creek Provincial Park; the Niagara Escarpment, and the Don Valley Brick Works.
Our local Member of Provincial Parliament, Minister Stephen Lecce, has been a strong and continuous advocate for the creation of this historic park and engaged partner of the municipality.
There is no comparable natural heritage/park area in York Region.
The Township of King formally requests that the Province of Ontario:
1. Negotiate with the owner the abandonment of its development proposal for the King lands in return for the transfer of lands owned by the Province elsewhere; 2. Once in possession of the King lands, transfer them to the Provincial Park portfolio or at nominal cost to King Township to create a showcase East Humber Headwaters Park.
The Township of King formally requests that:
3. The Council of the Region of York endorse this motion and convey its support to the Province of Ontario; 4. The Province, the Region, the TRCA and Township of King enter into discussions about the best way to ensure the long-term preservation and restoration of the King lands and establishment of the East Humber Headwaters Park.
If you wish to learn more about this motion, please listen to the electronic meeting held remotely and live streamed via https://king.ca/meetings tomorrow, Monday April 26th.
Public Participation: 1) VIEW THE MEETING live virtually at https://king.ca/meetings. NO pre-registration required. 2) SUBMIT WRITTEN COMMENTS to the Township Clerk at email@example.com by 12:00 p.m. (noon) on the day of the meeting. Comments will form part of the public record and will be circulated to Council 3) SPEAK TO COUNCIL remotely (by audio-telephone) by pre-registering with the Clerks' Division at 905-833-4068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by 12:00 p.m. (noon) on the day of the meeting. Provide your full name, address, telephone number and the item you wish to speak to. All comments addressed to Council will form part of the public record. Upon receipt of your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for participating by telephone.