Rouge Beach Improvement Projects - Public Engagement
Parks Canada is seeking feedback about enhancements to the Rouge Beach and Marsh Area of Rouge National Urban Park until May 1, 2021. The project involves a 2.5 kilometre trail connection and boardwalk from Rouge Beach to the Mast Trail adjacent to Kingston Road.
This project will enhance and further protect the natural and cultural integrity of the area and foster meaningful connections to its beauty and rich history. The initiative will:
mitigate the impacts of climate change, flooding and erosion;
improve visitor safety, inclusivity, stewardship and connectivity for all visitors and residents;
restore ecosystems and improve ecological integrity; and
respect the rights of neighbouring ravine property owners and residential communities.
Parks Canada is working with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, the Friends of Rouge National Urban Park, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the Rouge National Urban Park First Nations Advisory Circle and many other organizations, community groups and partners on this important project.
A key goal of the project is to help maintain community access to this unique waterfront environment. Parks Canada will achieve this by saving, refurbishing, restoring and flood-proofing park infrastructure and landscapes currently at risk due to extreme flooding events and erosion at this location, including safeguarding the main beach access area at Lawrence Avenue and Rouge Hills Drive.
The project will also formalize a 2.5-kilometre trail connection and add new boardwalk components from the beach to the Mast Trail area of the park to help improve visitor safety and in-park connections. Formalizing this trail will help improve community connections, minimize and reduce trampling on sensitive vegetation, and reverse the present situation where pedestrians currently wishing to connect from the beach to the Mast Trail must leave the park and negotiate crossing two dangerous Highway 401 on-ramps without the aid of a sidewalk or signalized crossing.
A defining feature of the Rouge Beach Improvements Project will be enhancements to the park’s ecological integrity through significant inland marsh and aquatic habitat restoration, removal of invasive species, creation of habitat for species-at-risk, planting of thousands of trees and shrubs, the addition of wildlife crossings and passages and by limiting and reducing the ecological footprint of the marsh area.
Other planned improvements include upgrades to the day use areas at both the beach and at the Mast Trail trailhead, including a new washroom facility and additional parking at the Mast Trail and a refurbished washroom at the beach.
This project was introduced to the public in 2012 when the initiative to create Rouge National Urban Park was launched, as well as at public meetings throughout the fall of 2014 and the fall of 2016, and via the Rouge National Urban Park Management Plan released in 2019.
The management plan encompassed feedback from over 20,000 Canadians and more than 200 organizations. The latest phase of public engagement has focused on more detailed conceptual designs and has been underway since February 2020, with dozens of community meetings, in-person walks, virtual charrettes and design workshops completed to date. Parks Canada has extended the public engagement and commenting period for this project to May 2021 to facilitate additional community feedback and co-design. In addition to significant community engagement and co-design, Parks Canada has committed to completing a detailed impact analysis – the highest standard of federal environmental impact analysis in the country – for this project.
To learn more about the projects, click the button below.