Chine likely to get sidewalk

May 17, 2013

Chine Drive

A major hurdle has been cleared for the installation of a sidewalk on Chine Drive, one of the prettiest streets in the Scarborough Bluffs.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has rejected a request from Chine residents asking for another environmental assessment to be conducted to specifically investigate the impact of the project on trees and wildlife.

It’s an issue that has helped delay reconstruction of the road and pitted residents of the street against parents who send their children to Chine Drive Public School.

Parents relieved

At the school yesterday, many parents expressed relief that the sidewalk project is back on track.

“I’m happy,” said Danielle MacDonald, a mother who walks her five-year old to Chine while pushing her one-year old in a stroller.  “I think it’s a good idea.  Its safer that way.  I know tons of parents who are happy about it because their kids ride their bikes to school. You never know when a car is going to come speeding by.”

The MOE decision was good news as well for Heather Gregory, a mother who said she stays in the playground every day until 4pm to avoid the traffic.

“I walk every day up Chine to pick my son after school and I have my daughter in either a stroller or wagon. It will be much safer. There are some curves along the street that make it really hard, especially in the winter when there are snowbanks and many parked cars as well,” said Gregory.

Many opposed to sidewalk

Parent Yuriy Balko, who lives on Chine and has a daughter in first grade, is opposed to the sidewalk and says most residents of the street feel the same.

His home was built in 1921 and Balko said it’s important to preserve the historic nature of the street.

Balko said the problem is not the lack of a sidewalk, but a lack of safety education.

“They (kids) are all over the place,” Balko said.  It’s not a problem with the sidewalk. It’s a problem with educating the kids.  Didn’t anyone tell them how to walk on the street?  The education needs to happen to avoid accidents from happening.”

Study began almost a decade ago

Chine Drive hasn’t been resurfaced since 1984 and not only is the asphalt in terrible condition, but work also needs to be done on the watermain, storm sewers and sanitary sewers.

Reconstruction of Chine was first considered by the City of Toronto in 2004, but delayed for a variety of reasons including the Scarborough Waterfront Study and an Environmental Assessment that was conducted even though it wasn’t required by municipal law.

Photo Credit: "Save Chine Drive Forest"

“Save Chine Drive Forest”

Steve Goldberger, who filed the MOE appeal and leads the Facebook Group “Save Chine Drive Forest”, said he’s very disappointed

“The people who want sidewalks are a very small minority. Our problem is they send their kids to that school for a short period relative to people who’ve lived on the strreet for 50 years.  There has never been an accident or incident.  The people who are unsafe on the street are the parents taking their kids to school.  The residents don’t drive crazy.”

Goldberger, who has lived on Chine for 25 years, said the environmental damage will be go well beyond the 20 trees slated for removal and expects other trees with roots under the road will be lost as well.

Asked if this is the end of the road, Goldberger said: ” We tried and we’ll cross our fingers that the impact won’t be as bad as we think it will be.”

Ward36 Councillor Gary Crawford

Community meeting June 10th

Ward 36 Councillor Gary Crawford has scheduled a community meeting for June 10th before the staff report  goes to Scarborough Community Council for a vote and then on to the full Toronto City Council.

Crawford said he is pleased with the MOE decision and considers the sidewalk plan a good compromise.

“I have to tip my hat to staff who are doing this study because I think they really did listen to the concerns of all sides, residents who live on the street who will be impacted but also the students and parents and community who use the school at the end of the street,” said Crawford.

Street memorial for Kayleigh Callaghan-Belanger, corner of Cliffside Drive and East Haven.

Complicated issue in the Bluffs

Sidewalks are a contentious issue in many pockets of the Scarborough Bluffs, where many residents feel the lack of infrastructure enhances the country aesthetic of the neighbourhoods.

In addition to the controversy on Chine Drive, Crawford has scheduled another public meeting about sidewalks in Cliffside, where residents are furiously lobbying for sidewalks following the tragic death of five-year old Kaleigh Callaghan-Bellanger.

Kayleigh was crossing Cliffside Drive on March 7, 2013 when she was struck and killed by a garbage truck.

The driver has been charged with careless driving and will appear in court June 6.

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3 Comments

  1. Marilyn Chisholm Brockett

    We don’t have sidewalks on our street either with a school at the end of the street and there has never been one accident in over 50 years involving a child walking to school. And Steve, you are absolutely right. It is not the residence of the street that are driving like maniacs, it is the parents of the kids driving them to school that are the hazard. Teach the children the safety of the road and leave nature the way it is. As Steve said, there has never been one incident or accident in all the years the school has been there. Kids have walked that road for years and years. What has changed???? It would be a crime to cut down any trees on that street. It is not a major road, there is little traffic except for people driving kids to the school. We have so few streets as beautiful as Chine Dr.left… Left it alone…

  2. wow

    Marilyn, I cannot believe your selfishness. Wow.

    The street cannot be left alone. It is crumbling and the infrastructure needs replacing. The inclusion of a sidewalk does not necessitate the removal of a single additional tree.

    Sad.

  3. Unbelievable

    “The people who want sidewalks are a very small minority”.

    What? Steve, it is you and the chine residents who are the minority. Here is a petition that says otherwise:
    http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/mayor-rob-ford-and-councillor-gary-crawford-complete-the-construction-of-a-sidewalk-on-chine-drive-this-summer

    One does not own the street they live on. It belongs to the city. Get real.

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