More Beach, Not Less
As Friends of the Bluffs, we would like to see the Scarborough Waterfront Project preserve the current natural beaches along the shores of Grey Abbey and East Point. We know people are interested in an authentic connection with the nature, especially when they are at the waters edge, so lets expand our vision and design a waterfront we can all be proud of!
We would like it to be acknowledged that other shoreline hardening projects may have been necessary (due to the shore not being accessible or for reasons of erosion control) but this area differs in that in it's current state this shoreline is completely accessible by the public and it is well utilized by local beach lovers of all ages and demographics across the region of the Toronto. The shores of Grey Abbey and East Point is a beautiful open coast beach that is cherished by many and there is no valid reason to destroy this beach.
We believe there is enormous potential to link this project with Guild Park as a cultural and tourist attraction while highlighting the unique features of the Scarborough Bluffs and Shoreline. In addition to increasing access for the public with a trail, our plan includes a parkland at the waterfront, an area for docking watercraft and a Blue Flag Beach.
The Waterfront Project is a rare opportunity to reshape our shoreline and a wide community of support across the city of Toronto would like the natural features of the shoreline preserved. Lets maintain access to the water for recreation and tourism, for the wildlife and for the benefit of future generations!
Grey Abbey and East Point shoreline
An aerial view of the sand beach shore of Lake Ontario in East Scarborough. This is one of the last remaining natural shorelines in the Toronto area. The undeveloped sand shore is over 3 km in length and in addition to allowing access to the water for human enjoyment and recreation, this natural area is a dynamic coastal community that encourages animal, fish and bird habitat and migration.
The TRCA (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority) is proposing to pave half of this beach for their waterfront project. The area most affected will be the pristine sand beach of Grey Abbey.
Scarborough Waterfront Project
Plan 1 proposed by TRCA requires destroying approximately 2 km of natural shoreline to construct a waterfront service road where as Plan 2 proposes saving the heritage shoreline and adding a new Blue Flag beach. The option for Plan 2 will develop a harbour front plan worthy of and complimentary to the spectacular surroundings and including the new “Destination Park” at the Guild Park and Gardens.
The new waterfront will add a blue flag sandy beach by applying the same engineering design principles used to create the Woodbine and Bluffers Park beach.
The new waterfront trail will add 9 km. for biking and does not require access through a protected bird sanctuary to connect with the Beechgrove waterfront trail.
One of the alternatives would add a docking facility to accommodate visiting boaters large and small from around the lake. Access from the water will enable boaters to visit the gardens, the Greek theatre, the restored Guild Inn or have lunch/dinner at the new restaurant and banquet facilities.
TRCA’s agenda and determination to develop a waterfront service road along the Scarborough Bluffs shoreline is not in accordance with neither the recommendations of the 2012 environmental report nor the publics’ wishes to save the beaches (as expressed in a petition by hundreds of shoreline friends at the last TRCA public information meeting).
The 12,000 year old heritage waterfront trail is 3 km. long and is the last remaining resting grounds along Toronto’s coastline for migrating birds. The coastline is protected by five armourstone headlands constructed at substantial cost by private and public funds. The headlands provide protection from shoreline erosion and they sustain the sandy beaches. Our plans reflect what the public desires and prioritizes conservation of the entire east section of this shoreline.
The Scarborough Waterfront Project presents a golden opportunity to develop a waterfront that is appropriate, viable and worthy of this world renowned geological setting. The 9 km shoreline set between the sandy beaches of East Point Park and Bluffer's Beach provides unlimited potential for the enjoyment of waterfront activities. The Fate of the $100 million Scarborough Waterfront Project is in the hands of TRCA’s executive management.
Shoreline Friends remain determined to direct Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to do the right course of action and save the last natural shoreline for perpetuity. Plan 2 offers a feasible solution where hikers, boaters, bikers, sun bathers and all who enjoy the waterfront experience are winners.