Chorley Park overlooks the Don River Valley near the Beltline Recreation Trail and the Don Valley Brick Works Park. This trail will connect Chorley Park to the Beltline Trail and will provide an accessible trail to the Don Valley Brick Works Park and the Lower Don Trail system from the west side of the valley.
Chorley Park Trail Connection
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Tree and shrub planting on the site will take place once construction is complete. A natural surface trail for hiking in the forested area will be retained. Removal of the existing staircase and trails in this area and construction of a new dirt trail is scheduled for 2018-2019.
The existing footpaths, asphalt trail and timber staircase at Chorley Park are not safe for public use and will be removed and converted to a natural forest condition.
Rehabilitation of this existing infrastructure to bring it to up to standard and safe for public use is not possible at its current location because of the potential construction impact on the endangered butternut trees within the area.
Because the area next to the butternuts is already disturbed, this site provides a great opportunity to improve access to the ravine for users with differing abilities, as well as restore the previously disturbed area with native species.
The existing steep footpath will be converted to plantings and replaced with a safer trail connection.
The existing rotting wooden stairs will be converted to a natural forest condition and replaced with safer trail connection.
To provide safe access into and out of Moore Park Ravine we have developed a plan for two trail connections at Chorley Park:
- A natural surface footpath for hiking in the forested area (similar to the foot trails that exist today).
- An asphalt switchback with a gradual slope to provide access for trail users with differing abilities.
The trail connection project was originally identified as part of the 2012 plan for improvements to the Beltline Trail.
Construction of the switchback trail is expected to be completed in 2017. Construction of the natural surface trail is scheduled for 2018-2019.
The public input process is very important in designing the trail. There has been extensive public consultation on the plan, which has resulted in nine modifications from the original design, and the final design will create a trail which will balance the needs of all users.
A drop-in event was held on June 24, 2013, to give the community (primarily members of the North Rosedale Residents’ Association) the chance to learn more and provide feedback about the Chorley Park Trail project, how it will be implemented, and what disruptions to expect.
November 2013, the City distributed pre-construction public notices to surrounding residences and also posted an advisory sign on the Beltline Trail at the base of the hillside.
A detailed forest management plan for the slope has not been completed at this time. As plantings are considered to follow trail development, forest management options will also be considered in more detail.
May 2014 Councillor Wong-Tam and City staff hosted a meeting for residents to learn more about the Chorley Park Trail and to ask questions of City staff and project leads.
June 2014 the City convened a public meeting to present new design options and to receive comment from residents after receiving concerns from residents about the planned asphalt switchback design.
October 2014 a Chorley Park Trail Design Stakeholder Working Group of 30 community members was formed to provide advice on recommended trail design principles and elements.
January 2015 the City hosted a Consultation Meeting for People with Disabilities to receive their input on various aspects of the potential design of the Chorley Park Trail, including slope, passing, resting and viewing areas, and other relevant accessibility features. The context for this meeting and its role at this stage in the process is explained in the Accessibility Update Memo written by the project team that was presented to the Stakeholder Working Group in November 2014.
The outcome of all stakeholder and public consultations is summarised in the following document:
For a more accessible version, read a text-only description
The existing footpaths, asphalt trail and timber staircase at Chorley Park are no longer safe for public use.
Many of the existing footpaths are also redundant. The City wishes to consolidate the multiple paths on the slope, to reduce the impact on the natural environment.
This project was identified as a “Quick Start” project in the plan for improvements to the Beltline Trail, which was developed in 2012 with input from stakeholders and the community. This project is part of the Bikeway Trails Implementation Plan that was approved by City Council on June 6, 2012.
Existing pathway infrastructure will be removed and converted to a natural forest condition. Rehabilitation of this existing infrastructure to bring it to up to standard and safe for public use is not possible at its current location because of the potential construction impact on the endangered butternut trees and other significant trees within the area. Butternut trees are protected under the Ontario Endangered Species Act. Other significant trees are protected by the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection By-law and Ontario Regulation 166/06 of the Conservation Authorities Act.
More information on the regulations and design criteria for the trail is found under the Design Considerations section below.
Trails are one tool used to protect ravines and other natural environments. A trail can be planned and managed as a means to help protect and enhance a natural area. It can:
- Keep trail users on a designated path.
- Introduce residents to natural areas, encouraging a sense of ownership and stewardship.
- Focus resources for natural area management by redefining the zones of recreational trail and establishing zones for invasive species removal, trail closures, restoration and natural area expansion.
- Provide for the most effective and efficient use of resources in the maintenance and management of infrastructure and natural resources, while optimizing cost/benefits.
Networks of informal trails, such as those found on the Chorley Park slope, that are poorly routed cause degradation of natural areas through soil compaction and erosion, spread of invasive species and fragmentation of habitat. Concentrating use of natural areas onto designated trails that are designed and built to manage recreational pressures on the forest and direct recreational use away from sensitive sites are beneficial to the ravine environment.
How many trees were removed for this project?
The trail was carefully planned to minimize the number of trees impacted and to prioritize the preservation of large, healthy native trees over trees in poor health, small trees, and invasive species. The alignment of the trail was also directed by the requirement to protect butternut trees (Juglans cinerea), a species that is protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. Approximately 130 trees were removed. Of these, more than two-thirds were small trees under 20 cm trunk diameter and many were non-native invasive species. Many of the native trees that were removed were elm and ash species, which have a short lifespan in Toronto due to Dutch Elm Disease and Emerald Ash Borer.
An additional 30 trees will need to be removed to accommodate the revisions to the original design. All efforts have been made to protect large, healthy, native trees during the detailed design of the new design concept.
All tree removals were reviewed and approved under the Ravine and Natural Feature By-law.
Approximately 1,500 new trees and shrubs of native species will be planted on site following construction. In areas where the slope is not as steep, there may be opportunities for volunteers from the community to participate in restoration planting of the site. Tree and shrub planting will take place following construction, and could be as early as fall 2017.
All butternut (Juglans cinerea) trees are protected under the Endangered Species Act regardless of size. The butternut trees/saplings found at this site are being protected. The legislation provides no such protection for Black Walnut or hybrid crosses between Juglans species.