To the editor:
This past Monday, a petition with more than 500 signatures was presented to city council advocating the preservation of the wooded area behind the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital as green space.
This is not to be confused with the developed front section of the property, which provides an excellent opportunity for redevelopment.
There is a broader public interest achieved in preserving this area as greenspace as it serves many purposes.
First, it is a linkage between the Shuniah, Toledo and Otto Street areas and Boulevard Lake.
There are many trails, a legacy to the Scout Jamboree in 1998, that mountain bikers, joggers and dog walkers use frequently.
In addition, students from Lakehead University regularly conduct field work and research.
It is a natural heritage corridor for deer, foxes, rabbits and a variety of birds, and there is increasing evidence that the lower cold water streams that lead into Boulevard Lake are home to brook trout.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, given the May 28 disaster flooding, the wooded area plays a significant role in storm water management.
Not only does it slow the movement of water, it plays a role in cleaning storm water before it enters the adjacent Current River and Boulevard Lake.
The Friends of the LPH Greenspace and the organizers of the petition want this wooded area, which is zoned future residential, to be rezoned and protected in the new City of Thunder Bay Official Plan.
Thunder Bay’s Official Plan is an important strategic policy document that guides land use and development in our community. It ensures development in a way that builds a healthy, safe and sustainable community.
This will guide how this city grows for the foreseeable future, probably the next 10 years.
This is about building the kind of city we all want, particularly, for our young people.
Like the Friends of the LPH Greenspace who have concerns regarding oneparticular property, it is important for the people of Thunder Bay to get involved in the Official Plan review and provide feedback.
As a community we must voice our concerns on issues important to us. Greenspace, trails, active transportation, complete street design, commercial areas and a range of housing options on existing infrastructure are just a few examples of what of the Official Plan can influence.
We need to ensure the new Official Plan reflects the needs and desires of this community. By working together we can balance the varied interests of the citizens of Thunder Bay and work towards a vibrant and prosperous Thunder Bay, a great Thunder Bay.
Congratulations to the Friends of the LPH Greenspace for their active involvement and participation in this crucial exercise.
You can provide your feedback by accessing the link to the Official Plan Review at thunderbay.ca.
Time is running out: the draft Official Plan is scheduled to be presented to Council in February or March. Please have your say on the future design of the City of Thunder Bay.
Coun. Andrew Foulds
Current River Ward,
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