Harmony Creek image courtesy Clinton Ajuis

Leave Harmony Creek alone, says residents group

A group of residents is asking the City of Oshawa to keep its hands off Harmony Creek, saying a proposed restoration is not wanted for a variety of reasons.

Oshawa has scheduled Harmony Creek restoration for a section south of Rossland Road East.from March 25th until March 30th.

There is also restoration planned along the Arborwood North area. Residents say the works include creating a walking path and planting of trees. The first is almost a practical impossibility where proposed, and the latter has not fared well in the past.

“We don’t want a path. Arborwood has a walking path,” said Michele Evans-Murphy, a resident. She suggested putting up benches on the embankment overlooking the ravine and the creek.

Mark Bronny, another resident said the land for the proposed path is too narrow (image below).

Facing north towards Conlin Road. Image courtesy Mark Bronny

“The proposed walking trail is located far too close to the Harmony Creek river. Every spring the river floods at least two to three times. This segment of the walking trail would be at immense risk of being constantly eroded away as a result of this annual flooding,” he pointed out.

Bronny said there is only 5.5 metre of clearance between the property line and the creek itself. This is clearly not enough clearance for a 7m wide pathway. The required removal of trees and their root systems would cause significant erosion of the east bank. “The ultimate result would be that this segment of the walking trail would need to be rebuilt on what is certainly an annual basis each spring at substantial cost to the city (and taxpayer).”

Ecological Concerns

Residents said the yet undeveloped creek area is home to both flora and fauna as well as a habitat for local and migratory birds. With a built-up area, people walking, litter, and safety issues, the creek ecology will be impacted.

Bronny said there would also be further extensive ecological damage with continuously having to transport heavy equipment to repair this segment of the walking path.

(Left) Proposed path on the east of the creek, and (right) the suggested path in green. Image courtesy Mark Bronny

He suggested that the walking trail be built on the west side of Harmony Creek (image above). This area  has an existing natural plateau located at a sufficiently acceptable distance away from both the Harmony Creek and the residential community along Magee Street. “It’s really a no-brainer.”

Flood zone. Image courtesy Michele Evans-Murphy

Evans-Murphy pointed out that with construction in the ravine, flooding could get worse. “With the snow melting the area at the back of my house is filling up as usual. My backyard is a swamp.”

Tree Planting

The city contractor, Cambridge Landscaping and Construction, will be providing compensation for the proposed tree removals at a ratio of 3:1, resulting in three trees planted per individual tree removed, said a city statement.

However, Clinton Ajuis, pointed out that the trees planted in the past have not fared well.

Some of the trees along the creek. Image courtesy Clinton Ajuis.

“This (above image) is an example of what happens when the city alters the natural landscape to accommodate their interests and replace trees at the expense to taxpayers of the city and the region. Doesn’t this violate any city or provincial environmental laws?” asked Ajuis.

“As a tree lover I find these pictures deeply disturbing,” added Evans-Murphy.

Funding & Consultation

Arborwood North residents alleged that restoration is being carried out in a hurry without proper consultation or attention to detail and impact, as part funding is from a federal government grant, which may dry up if not used soon.

“It’s a waste of money,” says Lorraine Glover, another resident. She pointed out that if the soil moves or slides down due to erosion, homes could collapse or get damaged.

“There is a lack of transparency, and certainy a lack of consultation,” said Tony Trinidad. They’re putting something in our backyard and they told us at the end of January and asked for response by February 12. They had done the planning much earlier, Trinidad pointed out.

No, we don’t want it. If at all the city wants to build, let them discuss with us, said Dr. Neda Safvati, speaking for the group.

Related Stories

Harmony Creek restoration about to get underway

Oshawa planning to extend Harmony Creek Trail

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2 thoughts on “Leave Harmony Creek alone, says residents group

  1. What a bunch of NIMBYS. They don’t want a trail close to their backyard. What about all the other residents in Oshawa who want to use a nice trails.

    If you’re backyard is already a swap it means that you live in a flood plain. Don’t build houses in flood plains.

    Flood plains are the best places for nature trails.

  2. Exactly Jamie a developer sold these lots on identified ravine lots with no indication of a proposed trail. The city is well within their right to then propose such a development on city land however proper consultation and design considerations must be met to ensure no adverse impact.

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