Cheltenham Badlands Update

May 18th, 2015

Hello & Happy Long Weekend,

I have received many calls and emails in regards to the Cheltenham Badlands. Today the Ontario Heritage Trust will start Construction on a fence to close the site for a much needed break from foot traffic (erosion) and vehicle traffic (multiple accidents and unsafe road conditions).

Due to the volume of tourists this site sees it has become necessary to conduct an overall review of the site. This will result in the site re-opening with the addition of walking paths, viewing platforms and adequate parking.

I would ask that this season you spread the word and take in the many other trails and sites Caledon has to offer, festivals and village events. The Badlands need a break.

Here are a few key points to remember;

• The Ontario Heritage Trust is committed to ensuring the long-term protection and preservation of the Cheltenham Badlands for the benefit of present and future generations.

• The Trust and our partners are pleased to be moving forward with a Master Plan that will improve public safety, ensure the long-term protection of the Badlands and explore options for public enjoyment and understanding of the site.

• Through the Master Planning process, local residents and the public will have an opportunity to provide comments during public consultations. This dialogue is an important part of the planning process and the feedback provided will help to inform the Master Plan.

• The high volume of visitors to the site is causing accelerated erosion, permanently changing the unique appearance of the Badlands. The fence is a temporary measure to protect the site from further damage, while the Master Planning process is underway.

• As the Master Plan progresses, the Trust and our partners are committed to raising the necessary funds to implement the plan. We hope that community members and the public will also come forward to support this initiative.

Key Facts:

• The striking landscape of the Cheltenham Badlands is one of Ontario’s geological, natural heritage treasures.

• The Cheltenham Badlands is one of the best examples of Badland topography in Ontario.

• The exposed bedrock at the Cheltenham Badlands is Queenston Shale; this iron-rich shale was deposited over 445 million years ago.

• Due to removal of vegetation during land clearing and livestock grazing in the early 1900s, the shale has eroded into a series of hummocks and gullies, producing the distinctive landscape.

• Today, the Cheltenham Badlands is recognized as a provincially significant Earth Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest.

April 30th, 2015:

  • The meeting on April 27, 2015, was hosted by the Cheltenham Badlands Management Planning Team to explain the rationale behind the proposal for the 33-car parking lot, providing details on the rigorous analysis conducted to arrive at the proposal. This analysis included evaluation of a range of considerations, including public safety, traffic analysis, environmental impacts, geographic constraints, as well as governing regulations. Based on this analysis, the Management Planning Team’s unanimous position is that the proposed parking lot is the best option to address what the region has identified as a serious public safety issue.
  • At the meeting, representatives of the Management Planning Team addressed the five alternate parking options put forward by the appellant, parties and participants. The proposals, many of which were previously considered by the Management Planning Team, were evaluated for feasibility by the five approval agencies with regulatory jurisdiction on the property. After review of these five options, the proposed 33-car parking lot proposal identified by the approval agencies remains the only viable option for on-site parking and the best solution to this pressing safety issue.
  • The meeting reiterated the urgent need to address traffic management safety concerns as soon as possible.
  • Closure of the Badlands feature and public consultations planned as part of the Management Planning process will address the other concerns raised by the appellant, parties and participants regarding restricting public access to the Badlands feature and opportunities for public consultation on future planning.
  • The Ontario Heritage Trust and our partners on the Management Planning Team (Bruce Trail Conservancy, Region of Peel, Town of Caledon, Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club, Niagara Escarpment Commission, Credit Valley Conservation, Caledon Environmental Advisory Committee and Caledon Countryside Alliance) are pleased to be moving forward with a Master Plan that will improve public safety, ensure the long-term protection of the Badlands and explore options for public enjoyment and understanding of the site.
  • At the end of May, a protective fence will be erected along Olde Baseline Road temporarily closing the Badlands feature to visitors, while a long-term Master Plan guiding future conservation and public access to the site is under development.
  • The high volume of visitors to the site is causing accelerated erosion, permanently changing the unique appearance of the Badlands. The fence is a temporary measure to protect the site from further damage, while the Master Planning process is underway.
  • The search for an environmental consultant to prepare the Master Plan is in progress and work on the plan will begin this summer.
  • Through the Master Planning process, local residents and the public will have an opportunity to provide comments during public consultations.
  • In the coming months, more information on the Master Plan and opportunities to participate in public consultations will be available on the Ontario Heritage Trust’s website.
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