Friends  of  the  Cawthra  Bush


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In this section the City of Mississauga's Official Plan and how it relates to the Cawthra Bush will be looked at.

General notes:
* Items in round brackets () with numbers, refer to enclosed items with my submission not this web-page.

* Items in square [] brackets are my comments.

* A number of times this reference is used "One of only 10 ANSIs identified in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).", about the Cawthra Bush.  This is now out of date, there have been more added over the past few years and many lost.  They don't make ANSIs any more, for sure.

For right now, the full sub-mission made to the Region of Peel in regards to the City of Mississauga's land use policies at Cawthra Bush is not posted.  It is very large.





RE: Mississauga Official Plan, Lakeview District Policies, Amendment No.11.
        Cawthra Bush.

TO: all of the following,

Ministry of Natural Resources
ATTN: Mr. Christopher Tschirhart, District Planner, Aurora District.
50 Bloomington Rd. W
Aurora, Ontario.      L4G 3G8

Regional Municipality of Peel
Development Review
ATTN: Ms. Nancy Mott-Allen, M.Sc. Pl., RP - Senior Planner, Planning Dept.
10 Peel Centre Dr.
Brampton, Ontario   L6T 4B9

City of Mississauga
Planning and Development Dept.
ATTN: W. D. Waite, Manager, Long Range Planning, Policy Planning Div.
300 City Centre Dr.
Mississauga, Ontario   L5B 3C1

Credit Valley Conservation.
ATTN: Lisa Anisainsworth & Jason Scott, Planners.
1255 Derry Road West,
Meadowvale, Ontario. L5N 6R4

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The Friends of the Cawthra Bush (FCB), have on a number of  occasions noted that the watermain installed down the side of the Cawthra Bush in 1995, the Sliverthorn feeder main, is draining the Cawthra Bush's wetlands and slowly killing the existing ecosystem.  As of 1998 the Region of Peel now is the owner of both the easement rights and the feeder main it self.  Therefore, the feeder main and its effect on the Cawthra Bush is the responsibility of the Region of Peel.

In light of this new fact the FCB would ask the Region of Peel to study (along with the City of Mississauga), both how the water is being drained from Cawthra and ways it can be pumped into the forest to save it's ecosystem.  Now be for it is too late.

- containing the deputation (as spoken), by Donald Barber, President, The Friends of the Cawthra Bush & Greater Mississauga Area before Peel Regional Council, Dec. 10, 1998, 9:30 am.  (items in brackets refer to enclosed item numbers).

 The Friends of the Cawthra Bush support the Region of Peel in its recommendation to defer its decision in regards to the City of Mississauga's Official Plan, Amendment No. 11, Special Site 1.   The Peel planning committee should also consider deferral on the surrounding area in the Lakeview area in matter of hydrology and zoning.

 The policies for Special Site 1 and its surrounding area should be deferred till at least a wetlands evaluation is done at Cawthra and preferably a hydrological survey of general area, most notably the areas affected by the watermain trench draining.  A wetlands or a special hydrologic site would require a very significant upgrading of Official Plan, both at the City and Peel level, for policies.  As both the City and Peel are committed to the ecosystem approaches and in order to use this method, a full understanding of the hydrology and wetlands would be necessary.  Otherwise forest management plans and Official Plans will not be adequate to ensure the continued existence of Cawthra's old-growth/wetlands ecosystem, rare and threaten wildlife included.

 It would save everyone the time and effort of going through the task of upgrading the Cawthra site, at a later date, to wait till wetlands evaluation at least is done before writing the policies for Special Site 1.  Both the Official Plans, are by their natures designed to protect areas that merit it and until we know what lives at Cawthra and its unique hydrology, we would only be guessing about what or how to best protect or restore Cawthra's environmentally significant features.

 An error could occur in approving local development.  We hope that Peel may wish to aid the City in a hydrological study in the Cawthra area.

 A number of poorly implemented actions in the past have resulted in a degrading effect on Cawthra.  The two most common reasons were lack of understanding of Cawthra's old-growth ecosystem and the failure of the public process to carry out the wishes of the community.  Most notable was the logging in an ANSI (3 & 13), and the near deforestation along the watermain easement (32).  More details are in the body of this letter.

The residents' role in events can not be understated.  Fundamental changes in forest management, public process, City policies and the discovery/documentation of Cawthra most environmental significance features, were all made by motivated members of the public.  Cawthra has always inspired great emotion with residents, it has supplied them a means to survive the great depression and today Cawthra is regarded as a community treasure.  It is a culture heritage feature worth the effort to protect for future generations.  A list of the letters from the academic community and various levels of government have already been delivered to Planning staff and are noted to show residents are not alone in the efforts to save a site so worthy of the effort.

 The matter of which should come first, a Master plan or a forest management plan is a very pressing concern for residents.  The proper process in decision making is to do a Master plan for a site first.  This was the City's first stated policy for Special Site 1 and agreeable to The Friends of the Cawthra Bush.  A Master Plan process should gather together all the planned projects, impacts and cases for concern.  This information is reviewed in the light of the Master Plan's overriding goals or mission statement, to come to a reasonable and doable plan.  It also would unite the forest as single unit; currently Cawthra is listed in City plans as three separate plots of land.  The Friends of the Cawthra Bush very strongly support this method and not the proposed method of doing the woodland management plan first.  As it currently stands the Cawthra Woods Management Plan is based on the old logging and tree farming management plan.  It is incomplete and is not ecosystem based, as no wetlands evaluation or hydrology study has been done, amphibians are not a high priority in management plans and the public has already rejected current City Forest Management plans.  This letter will be based on current information as known and has been passed by City Council.

 The Friends of the Cawthra Bush fear the slow degrading of Cawthra by many uncoordinated projects and development, that destroy key environmental elements, one at a time, till none remain.  As it is these environmental significant aspects are all that have saved Cawthra in the past.  They are of special concern to the community.

 At the corner of the QEW and Cawthra Rd., the Cawthra Bush offers a rich potential for development, in ten or twenty years, in an area that has few openings left to build in.  Please refer to the enclosed letter from town planning consultants inc. (29), in regard to "development potential" at Cawthra.  From July 20/79 till Mar. 31/94, for almost 15 years the City fought with the province over the price of the top/north 11 acres of the Cawthra Bush.  All the City had to do was to rezone the area park land from R3 (residential) and the province would not be asking the higher price for land that could be developed.  The City did some strange things in those years that put Cawthra at risk of development.

 In 1987, the City wrote to the Ministry of Housing to urge transfer of the site to the Peel Non-Profit Housing Corporation. Not the only time the City was agreeable to developing parts of the Cawthra Bush.  Please note the enclosed excerpts of the chronology regarding right land transfer between City and Ontario.

 Recently, residents have formed the Cawthra Ratepayer & Residents Association to save and protect the Cawthra Bush by stating its goals in both in the Master plan and forest management:  To manage and enhance Cawthra's old-growth/wetlands ecosystem as a nature and wildlife sanctuary; that Cawthra's primary use by the humans, will be educational, not recreational, so that all other decisions the City makes will flow from these specific goals.

 Later on in this letter it will be noted that the Province of Ontario is of the understanding that the City will be acting as a conservation body (23), in regards to at least part of Cawthra.  Therefore the Official Plan should reflect this signed agreement (28).  This is also a chance to do the best through both plans.

 In order to aid everyone's understanding of the value of the Cawthra Bush old-growth ecosystem, it has been suggested a complete species list be supplied by the City of Mississauga.  The Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) and Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) have both asked for one, Peel should have one on file for planning purposes, as well as the FCB.  A complete species list will aid everyone's efforts in understanding and commenting on Cawthra ecosystem.  City O.P. - 4.2.5 - Environmental Monitoring and Reporting; a. &  b. infers that the City is willing to create and share something as important as a species list.

 The matter of the Cawthra Bush is a very complicated one and all the details have not been presented yet, more detail can be provided as required to Peel later on this week and we are hoping that the information from the City and Peel will be shared with us in order to facilitate our complete participation in this process.  And if certain matters arise which do not actually form a part of the planning process, it is hoped that Peel will forward these issues to appropriate staff and they will look into them or help us pursue those matters more completely.  Feel free to make suggestions to better aid us in our understanding of government process.

Are made directly to the City text between square brackets [] to the current Mississauga Official Plan, Lakeview District Policies, Amendment No.11, Special Site 1, the Cawthra Bush area.


6.18.1 Planning Context

Prominent physiographic features within the district, include watercourses, watercourse valleys and floodplains, Lake Ontario shoreline and forested areas.  Significant natural features include the Etobicoke Creek valley system and the Cawthra Bush.
The Cawthra Bush, is one of a few large forested areas remaining in the City of Mississauga.

[Should rank Cawthra Bush more completely - is the third largest woods on flat land (not in a river valley), and should note old-growth ecosystem or kind of woods, as well.  It is not just a stand of trees and the City has not referred to a rating under its own Natural Areas System.]

It is identified as a Regional Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) and an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA).

[One of only 10 ANSIs identified in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  It has been cited as the best representation of naturally vegetated bevelled till plain along the Waterfront from Burlington to Port Hope, by the Waterfront Trust.  It is considered one of the top 11 botanical sites in Peel Region and one of the top 5 in Mississauga.  Note old-growth ecosystem and/or remnant forest.  The Floristic Quality index and mean Floristic Co-efficient should be noted (13.2).  Is there be any special management on site?  For example for amphibians. ]
The southerly portion of the woodland is a sugar maple-American beech forest on a relatively well-drained site while the remaining portions of the woodland supports a sugar maple-red ash-red maple forest.

[Why not list all section of the woods?  There are wetlands (letters from academic community), perched water tables (11), broad leafed swamps (MNR), an old-growth ecosystem/remnant forest elements, forest interior (1 & 18), and is well recognized by the academic community as noteworthy.]

The area contains a [very large ] diversity of plant species [and wildlife species rare, threatened and significant species like the pilleated woodpecker. ] and is known as a migratory stopover.

6.18.7  Special Site Policies  Introduction

Although most of the Lakeview District is developed, there are several sites within the district which merit special attention.  Any application for development if affected by a Special Site Policy will be subject to all City Plan policies and Site Development Plan requirements, with specific regard to the provisions of this section.

[Stronger then "regard"; and limited by. ]

6.187.2       Site

[The map should be more detailed, larger and maybe more than one.  Should show all the different property lines (6), if the City wishes to keep using them, which it should not, the forest should be one area, for effective ecosystem management.  Should show an environmental buffer zone. ]

The lands designated as Special Site 1 are east of Cawthra Road and south of the South Service Road.  The site is composed of four sub-areas.

[Should be shown on the map. ]

The most northerly portion of the site is a parcel of land containing a woodland that was originally

[Note size of property area, if have to divide up property, which should be dealt with as one ecosystem unit.  Goes back further than that (6).  It's not accurate.  It should say, forested lands, purchased by the Ministry of Transportation in the 1950s and by City in 1994. ]

purchased by the Ministry of Transportation for interchange construction.  These lands were surplus to the Ministry's needs and have been acquired by the City.

[Note the province has the expectation that City will manage it as a conservation area because of the restrictive covenants built into the purchase of this property
(28). ]

South of the woodland is the Cawthra-Elliott Estate, comprised of an historically designated building, a walled garden and a sixty-year old sugar maple forest.

[Note size of property area if have to divide up property, which should be dealt  with as one ecosystem unit.  The name Cawthra-Elliott Estate is no longer used and there is only one t in Elliot (26).  The plan should say the second parcel of land is the former estate lands.  It should note if a historical landscape or cultural landscape features exists or not and show them.  The age of the trees for each sections should be listed.  The forest is older now (13), from when this was written, more like 90 or older and ecosystem is remnant old-growth.  These biological features are very important. ]

Continuing south is Cawthra Park, which contains an arena, a senior citizen centre, a planned community centre and forested lands for passive and some active recreation facilities.

[Note size of property area if have to divide up property, which should be dealt with as one ecosystem unit.  Age of trees have been estimated to be over 125 years (2).  This part was not logged in the 1920s and has mature trees.  Doesn't list the lawn bowling club and there is a community centre now.  Should list exactly what these "active recreational facilities" are.]

[There should be a paragraph to deal with forest as one unit, to note old-growth/remnant ecosystem, to note the land has one owner now (the City) and should have one purpose (ecosystem method).  Understory is original.  Special hydrological features, forest interior.  Land has never been farmed or the ecosystem otherwise destroyed. ]

At the southerly extreme is Cawthra Park Secondary School, owned by the Peel District School Board.  Notwithstanding the Open Space and Residential Low Density II designations and the Natural Area classification of this Plan, the following additional policies will apply:

[Cawthra Park S.S. is not listed but shown on map.  St. Paul S.S. a separate school and a hydro building are also on site above Atwater Ave., why are they not listed?  Area should be rezoned at this point and go to public to aid in this process (after the wetlands and hydrology study).  No further impacts on this site till the studies are done.  Notwithstanding clause should be removed, all policies should be in line with nature area classification (which has not been fully done for this site), and zoning. ]

a.  the Cawthra-Elliott Estate may be used for the following additional uses:

[These items should be subjected to all environmental restriction and listed after the environmental restrictions.  The forest as a whole should be listed first.  Change the name used.  The term "additional uses" should be removed and defined uses stated.  There should be a complete listing of all the uses currently allowed at the estate like a movie set, party rental, fund raising, weddings.  The business plan for this site which Community Service promised for 1996, should be presented for referral. ]

institutional uses;
* offices;

[City has not noted definite plans, should be list to see scope and impact on forest]

* a conference centre;

[Current use, same as above. ]

* a community centre;

[Remove as City has no current plans for this use in the Cawthra estate house and a  community centre is being built to the south. ]

*  an academy for the performing arts;

[Remove as City has no current plans for this use in the Cawthra estate house and it is important that there be no improperly defined activities or development in Cawthra.  The FCB is very concern the City will say it is going to do one thing and then do something totally different.  Future use must be strictly controlled.  In the City's Nov. 16/98 memorandum, it notes the desire for this item to remain "to allow some flexibility in the future use of the estate", clearly the City is planning and asking permission to do what the FCB fears.  To degrade the site a little here and a little there on and on, encourage more degradation through small development.  ]

[Should allow for a residential use of Cawthra estate house.  A live-in grounds keeper/guard has been successful in the past as a means of limiting the vandalism.  Educational uses should be listed as well, as one room (at least), should be set aside just for that use. ]

[The community centre being built to south is not listed as currently being on site, nor is the lawn bowling green.  The size (% of property covered), of the parking area should be noted to understand its environmental foot print.]

b.  any use of the Cawthra-Elliott Estate will have regard for the following:

[The wording is all wrong, regard is not strong enough.   This wording is not clear.]

*  the Cawthra-Elliott Estate, including the outbuildings and formal garden, will be preserved and restored with any proposed new structures being of limited size and a design compatible with the historically designated structure;

[Wrong name.  After consultation with the public the FCB position is no new structures  generally but yes to new structure whose purpose is to restore or enhance the old-growth/wetlands ecology/features at Cawthra.  Example, the forest is being drained by the watermain trench, changing the hydrology and ecology of the Cawthra Bush.  If a small pump house was built to redirect this water back into created or enhanced ponds in the forest, then this would be acceptable.  It would be preferable as well if it could be located on the east side of the forest where the forest cover has been removed and is not as great an issue as is the case for the undisturbed forest proper.  Also if an educational site was built, under certain conditions, it could be acceptable.  The wording suggests that "outbuildings" could mean the old estate buildings, such as the walled garden, green  house, wells, potting shed and the garages.  These structures still have their old foundations in place and building directly over these foundations would have the least impact on forest.  The effort to rebuild or build on that site, is of great concern as it could disturb forest cover.  The wording "new structures" sounds like buildings not on previous estate foundations and should not be allowed.  The formal garden could be restored is the City current thinking.  They can be restored, if it is done in a fashion that doesn't require changing the surrounding forest and or remove the existing habitat and food sources (the pine cones are all being eaten by the wildlife), that exist in the garden.  The overriding concern should be no new structures that do not benefit the forest ecosystem, greatly, and are agreeable to residents e.g educational.  ]

*  the parking lot, driveways and loading areas will be designed and located in a manner which minimizes removal of forest cover;

[No more required and should contain the clause that some can be removed to benefit the forest ecosystem. The actual size and percentage of property covered, of all parking lots should be noted to understand their environmental foot print.  Removal is only part of the problem, drainage, reduced understory and increased forest edge are as well. ]

* shared parking arrangements should be considered in order to minimize removal of  forest cover,

[Only if it would have no negative environmental impacts (whatsoever), and no removal  of forest cover by the method used or the people using them.  ]

* pedestrian walkways/linkages will be provided to the lands to the north, Cawthra Park to the south and the existing residential lands to the east;

[ All existing paths (some are unplanned), should be reviewed as to their effect on the forest ecosystem and some blocked off.  Like the extension made into the north wetlands by the logging trail.  There should be no north-south paths in the forest, only on the easement (5).  East, west, only by the two existing paths.  Paths should be required to employ a method to keep people on them.   All paths/walkways should be subjected to an assessment or Environmental Impact  Study (EIS), to determine how damaging to the forest ecosystem they are, to ensure they are environmentally responsible and in keeping with all other efforts to protect the forest ecology.  Parts of the forest should be off limits to protect ecosystem functions (like forest interior conditions), and keep maintenance costs down.  Paths should very limited (as forest needs a chance to recover from human impact), and dead end paths, like dead end streets, should be used as less crime is known to exist under these conditions.  Paths should be determined through the Master Plan process and in keeping with the goal of  protecting old-growth/wetlands ecosystem from people.  Trail proliferation, is controlled by keeping people on limited trails, using signage to explain why it best and encouraging visitors to show respect for natural features.  If paths are linked (as shown in past City plans, 5) in the forest they will become a race way for mountain bikes and easy access for other forms of vandalism, to all parts of the Cawthra Bush. Bicycles should be limited to easement path. ]

* most of the forest will be retained in a natural condition; forest management and landscaping will occur in accordance with an approved Master Plan;

["most of the forest will be retained in a natural condition" is not clear enough and subject to interpretation.  The FCB and the CRRA support the guiding statement that Cawthra will be retained as an old-growth/wetlands ecosystem, to be a nature/wildlife sanctuary and the primary human use is educational not recreational.  The publicly debated and approved by the public, Master Plan must precede the forest management plan. ]

Other suggested clauses for this plan.

* From the City's map (Nov. 16/98), the only pond the salamanders can breed in is in  this heritage area and the formal gardens.  How will the City's promise to restore the formal gardens affect the salamanders' survival?

* Generally this write up should note more features or give reference to a location in City Hall, Peel or the CVC for more information.  An enclosed letter, Dec. 17/98 (31), to a number of persons in City hall about the use of poison bait traps in an ANSI and ESA, with rare and threatened wildlife, shows why this necessary.

* The term Cawthra Bush is the one used by lifelong residents in the Cawthra area and should be used.

* The total area of parking lots and buildings should be noted as the environmental foot print is an important consideration.

1). City should list Cawthra as Major Open Space - Schedule 2.  Peel listed Cawthra on Schedule AA, Core areas of the greenlands system in Peel.

2). Schedule 3 doesn't show ESA's.

3). Cawthra should be listed in City O.P.  1.2.2 - Environment.

It will make a difference!
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