Julie Seemann: Choking to breathe

Today, Tuesday, November 9, 2010, Teresa Panezutti and I walked again along the beautiful Langstaff Eco-Park, to which we in the Concord West community are denied direct access.

Map of Julie and Theresa's walk

We had to cross extremely busy Highway #7,

Mark 1 on map: Crossing #7 at Baldwin

Looking back at westbound traffic after crossing

go along truck laden traffic on Bowes Road

Mark 2 on map: Bowes Road, seen from #7...

...and a moment later

...and a moment later

and follow Rivermede to enter the Eco-Park.

On the main road of the Ecopark

What a relief to be away from dangerous traffic and from pounding the pavement to reach these peaceful safe pathways. We met cyclists and passengers enjoying the outdoors; these people work in the area and have been provided with pleasures that are denied to Concord West residents who have lived here for more than 40 years. We are paying taxes to provide safe outdoor access to people who might not even live in Vaughan.

Map area 3: Ecopark meadow

Map area 3: Beaver dam

Reaching Langstaff Rd., we then walked back to Highway #7 through the Bartley Smith Greenway

Map area 4: Forest path

Mark 5 on map: Under the CN bridge

and climbed up the hill to Highway #7 adjacent to Angelo’s Garden Centre. There is no other way to return home but along #7 with speeding traffic by our side; at one point a stone hit my leg, a reminder to be aware of speeding cars. Then there is the CN bridge that we had to go under, even more dangerous since there is only a curb to walk on. I cannot possibly take my grandchildren for a walk along this route for fear that the flying stones could cause them injury.

Mark 5 on map: Looking back at the underpass...

...and a moment later

Officials are concerned about “beautifying” the neighbourhood with planters on corners of our streets, yet no one has any consideration for people who live here who have no safe access to green space east of us nor to the Bartley Smith Greenway or Langstaff Eco-Park? We are caged in and not included in Vaughan’s “Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan Study.” Yet for years the question has been raised why the Concord West community is denied safe walking and bicycle access to those greenspaces. Even the bridge that existed at one time over the Don has been removed, visible foundations are still there for building an inexpensive small bridge for Concord West residents.

I invite any of you to walk the route described above to actually feel the frustration and anger – when a 5-minute walk through the green space east of our community would connect us directly with the Bartley Smith Greenway and we would feel safe away from traffic.

If there was access through the Concord West greenspace...

Thank you.

Julie Seemann

Note: The photographs illustrating this report were taken by Julie Seemann, Brennan Caverhill and Alexandra Correa at the actual locations mentioned in it.

5 Responses to Julie Seemann: Choking to breathe

  1. Rod says:

    Thanks for this very well-written article that accurately describes the current state of access to the greenbelt for Concord West residents. I don’t live in the area, but have walked and cycled that section of the greenbelt and frequently cycle through the neighbourhood when commuting to avoid Keele St. It is shocking that planners would even consider paving over a large public greenspace with a parking lot., especially when it appears to be the only public space next to a road-locked community.

    I do believe that suburban residents need to accept that higher densities will be built in an around their communities. But i also think that preserving, expanding and connecting existing urban and suburban green spaces is a reasonable and beneficial trade-off for intensification.

    Best of luck at the January 25th Council meeting.

  2. Marje Harding says:

    I don’t live in Concord, but recently walked through Concord West Greenspace and feel it is criminal to destroy this piece of beautiful nature. Good work to everyone involved with this project. Let’s hope that your politicians will use their common sense and preserve this piece of land that houses an abundance of flora and certain protected species of wildlife.

  3. maria bonfini says:

    As a resident of Concord West, enjoying walking and bicycling, I clearly relate to the situtations you describe in your letter and share your anger and frustration. One should not have to risk their life for the simple pleasure of walking to enjoy the outdoors, and the surrounding natural beauty of the area.
    I support and thank you for your ongoing efforts to raise awareness on this issue and hope that an acceptable resolution will be forthcoming soon! Great photos!

  4. Victoria Pollock says:

    Thank you for this very clear presentation of the
    situation faced by people who need to find access to the park. I wish you all the best in saving Concord West and making it available to everyone who wants to enjoy it. This is it. This is our home and our future; our lives depend on our our natural environment . I appreciate your hard work in fighting for our land.

  5. Silvana says:

    As a resident of Concord West, and parent to two children who enjoy exploring nature, this pictorial unfortunately, describes the effort and fear it takes to cross over to our beautiful greenbelt.
    It feels punishing to say the least.
    Thank you to my neighbours, Julie, Theresa and Alexandra.
    Your works are greatly appreciated!

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