Public Works Standing Committee:
Sep 21, 2015
Mountain Vista Management
2015 09 21 Public Works
NOTICES OF MOTION
Jackson: here has been a plea for a number of years for regular maintenance for removal of the dead branches, the suck up bushes, the weeds, the foliage that exists along the brow that takes away from the beautiful panoramic view that could be there if we just had an opportunity to do so regular maintenance both in-house and in consultation with agencies like the Niagara Escarpment Commission. I can tell you people in my area, my constituents, overwhelmingly would like to see some of these designated vista areas approved, not only for the residents who live not only along the brow, but also in the neighbourhoods along the east mountain, but for visitors and tourists to our city.
I mean we have made Albion Falls as a destination that is growing in popularity. I can tell you the east mountain escarpment stairs, since they opened seven or eight years ago have been widely used by so many residents as people today are looking for healthier, more active living and lifestyles – these kinds of multi-use trails, these kinds of viewing areas. We’ve got new lay-bys along the brow for people to come and visit and park and enjoy – both from councillor Duvall’s area at the top of his Wentworth Street stairs – all the way over to Mohawk Road there’s opportunities here.
But staff have been – we’ve learned, I’ve learned – staff have over the years been handcuffed to a degree both through agencies like the HCA and the NEC to some degree, as well as within their own budgets and resources. And also staff to their credit have been mindful of the stabilization of the escarpment and to ensure that any possible trees, branches, that might be removed would not lead to any kind of destabilization of the escarpment and the escarpment passes – which of course, Sherman Access, Clairmont and the Kenilworth Access primarily have been a part of regular maintenance that we do moving forward.
But there’s opportunities that have been lost over the years where we can provide these panoramic views of the escarpment right to Lake Ontario that will enhance and beautify the image of our city’s. Mr Chairman, with no impact to anyone else’s budget or displacing anyone else’s projects and programs, I am hopeful that committee and council will give Councillor Duvall and I, with staff, an opportunity to do interim maintenance but more importantly a long term strategy.
Whitehead: I’m surprised that my colleagues didn’t bring me into this discussion. We have the mountain around the mountain brow and where the cross is and some of the challenges with regard to the vistas because we did spend a fair amount of money putting a pad in there for a scenic view and the biggest complaints I get, and of course the challenge we’re going to have with the cross is that it’s been all grown in and there needs to be some way of approaching the cleanup and the vista to allow it to stand high and proud as it has in the past. So I’m very supportive of what’s in front of us here today and I’d love to have that extended because ….
Merulla [chair] Would you like to move to study the feasibility of doing that?
Merulla: Okay, seconded by councillor Jackson.
Jackson: I’m happy to and we’ll have a discussion of the mountain colleagues after today’s meeting, but the feedback that we had was that councillor Whitehead’s office, although supportive, had indicated to us other priorities at this time. … So councillor Duvall and I didn’t want to hold up this study in light of our meetings with staff and our residents. But I’m more than happy to include him and I’m happy to have that discussion.
Merulla pushes ahead with vote in favour
Duvall: I want to echo what councillor Jackson said, and I’m certainly supportive if councillor Whitehead wants to join in on this because I think it’s most important. One of the things we found, and it’s very frustrating to the residents up there, is the lack of wild bushes that are growing and I’ve worked with staff. Every year this has become an issue. They’ve done great work where they can, and I tell you when they do do it, it happens, the compliments we get back from the residents up there are unbelievable. So this is basically trying to find a way that we can have a permanent kind of maintenance, and where those look outs should be so that everybody’s on the same page. And I also – so I’m fully supportive and I’m fully supportive of councillor Whitehead throwing in some money so that might change the actual cost
Merulla: It’s a good thing, not a bad thing, exactly.
Duvall: And if there’s any money coming back from Dr No I want it back [laughter]
Merulla: Okay, so moved by Jackson – madame clerk?
Clerk: Do you want a formal amendment?
Merulla: Yes. [to include ward 8] …
Ferguson clarifies that the money will come from the area rating budgets.