Mayor John Tory was joined by Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 6 York Centre), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee, and Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Ward 25 Scarborough-Rouge Park), Vice-Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee and the Mayor’s Resilience and Environmental Champion, today to discuss the upcoming Toronto Ravine Strategy Implementation Report, which will be presented to Executive Committee on January 23.
The Mayor and Councillors were joined by City of Toronto ravine partner representatives from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Evergreen and Park People.
The report identifies key actions required to implement the City’s first ever Ravine Strategy, approved by City Council in 2017, over the next 10 years.
Highlights of the recommendations include:
• Providing an additional $2.7 million annually in new and enhanced services to increase ravine litter collection and invasive species control. This funding, which staff recommend phasing in between 2021 and 2024, builds on the approximately $10.1 million annually from the operating budget for forest and natural area management which fall mostly in ravine areas and include activities such as tree planting, invasive plant and pest control, volunteer stewardship, general maintenance, ravine bylaw permit review and enforcement, and other restoration work.
• Investing additional capital budget funding of $104.9 million between 2021 and 2030 to upgrade 10 Priority Investment Areas in our ravine system. This funding would build on the impacts of the $460 million in this year’s staff-recommended 2020 to 2029 capital budget for work in ravines.
• Launching a ravine fundraising campaign and convening an external multi-stakeholder Ravine Campaign Leadership Table, including two initial projects:
o A loop trail project to connect and animate 81 kilometres of ravines across the city
o Establishing the InTO the Ravines: Nature at your doorstep micro-grant program.
• Requesting funding from other orders of government to fund implementation of the Ravine Strategy.
• Creating a Ravine unit within the Parks, Forestry and Recreation division.
Toronto’s ravines extend over 300 kilometres and 11,000 hectares and cover 17 per cent of Toronto’s land area. The city’s ravine system is one of the largest in the world. Ravines are a major part of Toronto’s green infrastructure. Along with the city’s tree canopy, gardens, and green roofs, ravines provide environmental, health and recreational benefits. They filter and convey stormwater and are part of larger watershed systems. They support a resilient city and house infrastructure, such as utilities and sewer lines.
Ravines are important natural refuges and contain 87 per cent of Toronto’s environmentally significant areas, forests and wetlands, and many varieties and significant species of plants and animals. Approximately 60 per cent of Toronto’s ravine land is publicly owned.
A backgrounder containing more detailed information on the City’s Ravine Strategy and the proposed implementation report can be found at https://www.toronto.ca/home/media-room/backgrounders-other-resources/backgrounder-ravine-strategy-implementation/.
Additional details of the report’s recommendations to Executive Committee can be found at http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.EX12.1.
City Council will also review the second Tree Canopy Study 2008 to 2018 at its January meeting. The study shows City tree planting efforts have resulted in Toronto’s tree canopy cover increasing by up to 3 per cent and its total tree population increasing by 1.3 million trees over 10 years. A study summary copy can be found at https://www.toronto.ca/trees.
“I am committed to working with City Council and our partners in the public and private sectors to make these investments so that we are investing in our ravines, cleaning them up and protecting these important natural assets. While the report recommends investing in increased litter pickup and further combatting invasive species in our ravines starting in 2021, I will be working with my City Council colleagues to fast track this in the 2020 budget process. I will also be working hard over the next year to make sure we fund the increased capital plan for our Ravine Strategy through a combination of City funds, funds from other orders of government who are equally dedicated to investing in the environment, and donations. I have already met with three federal ministers on the subject of their participation in funding the Ravine Strategy and I have been discussing ideas for non-government funding sources.”
– Mayor John Tory
” Ravines play a key role in our overall stormwater management. Investments in this area are vital to our city as it experiences more extreme weather events. While physical infrastructure is important, it is the interpersonal infrastructure this plan recommends which will drive forward the changes required for our ravines.”
– Councillor James Pasternak
“This is the kind of plan we need to ensure our natural urban environments are here for our children, the future stewards of these beautiful green spaces. One or two-year initiatives do not work, nature’s timelines need to be respected for us to have a real and lasting impact.”
– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie
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