June 1, 1999
To:Scarborough Community Council
From:Joe Halstead, Commissioner Economic Development, Culture and Tourism
Barry Gutteridge, Commissioner Works & Emergency Services
Subject:Ontario Hydro Corridor Lands and Beare Road Ski Facility Trust Fund - Ward 14
- Scarborough Wexford and Ward 18 - Scarborough Malvern
To report as requested on the acquisition of Scarborough Ontario Hydro corridor lands for pedestrian/bicycle paths, and on
the origin and status of the Beare Road Ski Facility Trust Fund.
It is recommended that this report be received for information.
In referring the Budget Committee's recommendations (April 30, 1999) respecting the acquisition of Ontario Hydro
corridor lands (priority 2 and 3) to Scarborough Community Council, the Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee on
May 9, 1999 requested that the following reports also be submitted to Scarborough Community Council:
(1)the Commissioner of Works & Emergency Services report on how the proposed acquisition fits with the City's stated
objective for pedestrian/bicycle paths in Scarborough, and on whether the funds being requested could be better spent in
Scarborough to achieve this objective; and
(2)the Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture & Tourism, in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer &
Treasurer, report on the original intent of the Beare Road Ski Facility Trust Fund.
Acquisition of Ontario Hydro Corridor Lands for Pedestrian/Bicycle Paths:
A 1998 report prepared for the City of Toronto by Victor Ford and Associates entitled "Inventory of Cycling Trail
Opportunities in Rail and Hydro Corridors", reviewed all rail and Hydro corridors lands in the City. The study report
ranked potential trail corridors in two groups. Group 1 projects were considered most easily doable and Group 2 projects
were considered doable but with more significant constraints or barriers to overcome. The former Warden Hydro Corridor
lands north of Highway No. 401 were ranked as a Group 1 project. The corridor lands south of Highway No. 401 were
ranked as a Group 2 project because there are several mid-block crossings which make it difficult to provide route
The 1998 Study did not identify priorities for trail implementation, however, the next phase of this work, to be completed
in time for consideration as part of the Year 2000 Capital Budget process, will identify such priorities, based on the needs
of a City-wide network of off-street trails and on-street bicycle routes. This assessment will be undertaken in conjunction
with pertinent City staff, representing the Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, Urban Planning and Development
Services and Works and Emergency Services Departments, as well as with representation from the Toronto Cycling
Although we are not able to comment at this time whether the funds being requested could be better spent in other areas of
Scarborough to achieve the City's pedestrian/bicycle trail objectives, based on a preliminary review, it would appear, at this
time, that the lands north of the 401 offer greater potential to form an integral part of a future route network. This is
primarily due to the opportunity which they offer to connect with the Finch Hydro corridor, which could, over the longer
term, provide east-west trail access across the northern part of the City. To help achieve greater route continuity, it is very
important that the Hydro corridors not be severed where they offer such opportunities.
Origin and Status of the Beare Road Ski Facility Trust Fund:
Metro Toronto opened the Beare Road Landfill Site in 1967 with the approval of Scarborough Council. The 80.5-hectare
site, originally with a capacity of 3.3 million tonnes, received solid waste through 1988. Metro and Scarborough agreed to
expand the Beare Landfill's capacity by 635,000 tonnes in 1971 and 5.4 million tonnes in 1974. The latter resulted in the
creation of the Beare Road Ski Facility Trust Fund.
Under the terms of the 1974 agreement, Metro issued $750,000.00 in debentures to cover the cost of developing a downhill
ski facility at Beare Road. This accommodated Scarborough's desire, first expressed in 1971, to improve the site for
recreational purposes. Metro would design the facility and manage disbursements from the trust account; Scarborough
would lease the property as of 1978, undertake construction, and assume any excess costs. Any payments would be
refunded to Metro if Scarborough failed to build the facility according to the development plan (Clause No. 1 of Report
No. 12 of the Works Committee, adopted by Metro Council on October 22, 1974).
In 1982, Scarborough cancelled this agreement, terminated its lease of the Beare Road site, and explicitly relinquished any
claim to funds in the trust account (Clause No. 1 of Report No. 46 of the Board of Control, adopted by Scarborough
Council on September 20, 1982). In return, Metro was to use the trust account to develop a regional downhill ski facility at
Beare Road, with all development plans and activities for the site being reviewed by Scarborough staff (Clause No. 8 of
Report No. 10 of the Works Committee, adopted by Metro Council on October 1, 1982).
Metro undertook preliminary work on the ski facility into the early 1990s before abandoning the project. The facility made
its last appearance in a budget document in the 1992-1996 Metro Parks Capital Works Program, when inflation and
program changes had pushed cost estimates to $12,500,00.00. Beyond economics, the viability of the project was impacted
by solid waste management planning (which, beginning in 1988, explored interim landfilling options in the Beare Road
area) and by the Province's 1990 park planning initiative in the Rouge watershed.
As plans emerged for the Rouge Park, Metro officials acknowledged that a ski facility at Beare Road would likely be
rejected by the Province, given the project's incompatibility with other land uses in and around the park and the range of
possible environmental impacts. The Commissioner of Parks and Property noted that while Metro was not legally obliged
to develop the ski facility, this did not "diminish the original intent or spirit behind the [project], which was to provide
something of benefit to the community in return for permission to place additional refuse on the site." The Commissioner
urged consideration of other uses at or enhancements to the site or surrounding areas in the context of the Rouge Park plan:
"The Ski Hill Trust Account Funds could help in a number of ways in implementing the plan, such as land acquisition,
landscape regeneration, the development of trails and other facilities, and so on, to the benefit of residents of Scarborough
and beyond. I would suggest, therefore, that the funds in the Ski Hill Trust Account be considered in discussions about
management structure and funding arrangements for the Rouge Park. The funds may provide to be a very useful
contribution towards the park by Metropolitan Toronto and, as such, it would be premature to relinquish or otherwise
dispose of the funds until that potential has been explored fully" (Clause No. 7(d) of Report No. 10 of the Parks, Recreation
and Property Committee, as adopted by Metro Council on August 11, 1993).
The Metro Solicitor subsequently advised that "there exists no legally binding obligation on the Metropolitan Corporation
to utilize neither the original corpus of the fund, nor the interest accumulated thereon, for the purpose of the development
of a ski facility at that site, nor, for that matter, for the development of any successor park facilities, such as the Rouge
Park, in that area" (Clause No. 22(g) of Report No. 37 of the Management Committee, adopted by Metro Council on
September 15, 1993).
Use of funds in the trust account continues to be entirely at the discretion of Council. Despite its name, the Beare Road Ski
Facility Trust Fund is not a trust fund within the meaning of the Trustee Act, which defines municipal responsibilities in
respect to the management of trust funds. Regardless of the source of funds, the Act requires that the municipality pass a
by-law approving acceptance of the arrangement setting out the terms of the trust and the obligations undertaken by the
trust. The by-law outlines the intent and purpose of the trust and the responsibilities of the trustee. No such by-law was
passed by Metro Council in respect to the Beare Road account.
Furthermore, Metro Council did not adopt, and Toronto City Council has not adopted, a policy on the use of funds in the
trust account. However, Metro twice rejected using the account for operating expenses in connection with the Rouge Park
Alliance and Metro's Solid Waste Management Division (Clause No. 6 of Report No. 7 of the Financial Priorities
Committee, adopted by Metro Council on March 7, 1996 and Clause No. 6 of Report No. 5 of the Environment and Public
Space Committee, adopted by Metro Council on May 7 and 8, 1997).
In 1994, Scarborough City Council asked Metro to use the trust account to purchase the Glen Eagles site for inclusion in
the Rouge Park, with any remaining balance being "retained for use within Rouge Park with priority given to the landscape
rehabilitation and development of the Beare Road Landfill Site" (Clause No. 24 of Report No. 9 of the Administrative and
Finance Committee, adopted by Scarborough Council on March 30, 1994). No action ensued until the Province approved
the Rouge Park Management Plan in 1994 and Metro Council conditionally endorsed a management structure for the Park
The trust account has typically been drawn on by Metro and the new City of Toronto for parks purposes at or in the vicinity
of the Beare Road Landfill Site:
- about $220,000.00 was expended in 1984-88 on electrical work, consulting fees, aerial surveys, and soil, noise,
and gas studies connected with the Beare Road ski facility;
- $1,300,000.00 was allocated in 1995-99 for trail and vegetation management work in the Rouge Park
($300,000.00 in Clause No. 2 of Report No. 5 of the Environment and Public Space Committee, adopted by
Metro Council on April 5, 1995; $500,000.00 in Clause No. 14 of Report No. 4 of the Environment and Public
Space Committee, adopted by Metro Council on April 9, 1997; and $500,000.00 in Clause No. 1 of Report No. 3
of the Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee, adopted by Toronto City Council on March 2, 3 and 4, 1999);
- up to $2,000,000.00 was committed in 1999 from the trust account and the sale of City properties to the purchase
of the Glen Eagles site for inclusion in the Rouge Park (Clause No. 1 of Report No. 4 of the Corporate Services
Committee, adopted by Toronto City Council on April 13, 14 and 15, 1999); and
- $1,000,000.00 was allocated in 1998, on the recommendation of the Budget Committee, to the Highland Creek
Trail Extension project (Clause No. 23 of Report No. 6 of the Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee,
adopted by Toronto City Council on April 29 and 30, 1998).
With the above expenditures and commitments, there is currently about $2,200,000.00 in the Beare Road Ski Hill Trust
This report comments on how the proposed acquisition of certain Ontario Hydro corridor lands fits with the City's stated
objective for pedestrian/bicycle paths in Scarborough, and whether the funds requested could be better spent elsewhere in
Scarborough to achieve this objective. The origin and status of the Beare Road Ski Facility Trust Fund is also described.
The Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer and the City Solicitor have been consulted in the preparation of this report.
Economic Development, Culture and Tourism
Works & Emergency Services
Joe HalsteadBarry Gutteridge
Economic Development, Culture and TourismWorks and Emergency Services