Milne Dam Conservation Park is Markham's largest park of 123 hectare or 305 acre with the Rouge River flowing in the middle and surrounded with a lush forest on the southern and eastern edges. A birding hot spot, this park offers trails, picnic spots & fishing in the Rouge River. It is located on the east side of McCowan Road, just south of Highway 7.
Milne Dam Conservation Park is a unique and special asset that exists in the heart of our busy and growing city that provides Markham with a space that is enjoyed by many for education, nature and recreation.
但是，现在这个可爱的公园正在卷入一场有争议的公园植树项目。当地有些居民反对万锦市公园管理部门进行这个植树项目。 2016年10月1日，市公园管理部门开始在Drakefield路附近种植1500棵常青树苗（这些树为白云杉或松树，估计每颗树苗花费约55分）。种树前，市府没有向附近的居民征求意见。这个种树项目由多家机构参与，包括万锦市，多伦多地区保护局（TRCA），安大略省森林署和Del Ridge Homes（地产开发商）。
This lovely park is now involved in a controversial case of tree planting that pitches some local residents against the City's Parks Operations department. On October 1, 2016 an operation to plant 1500 evergreen seedlings (either white spruce or pine estimated at a cost of about 55 cents each) commenced in a field within the park near Drakefield Road without any consultations with residents nearby who will be affected by the project. The seedlings were planted through a partnership between the city of Markham, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Forest Ontario, and Del Ridge Homes (developer).
Residents agreed that the benefits of tree planting are apparent and any opportunity to increase forest areas should not be missed or misused. However, many of them disagreed with the location chosen for the planting of these trees and believe there are other more suitable locations in the park.
On June 28, 2017 the City hand delivered a letter to over 325 homes in the Milne Dam Conservation Park area. In this letter, Markham's parks manager David Plant mentioned "a case of vandalism and destruction of city property and assets" as identified by a photograph it received showing seedlings that were removed from the planting area and discarded under a park tree. He further noted that a staff audit performed June 9 showed in excess of 500 seedlings had either been crushed and broken, or had been physically removed from the ground. Recipients of the letter were advised that as part of a police investigation instigated by a report from the city, "an officer from YRP is expected to canvass the neighbourhood and speak to residents at their homes to obtain further information."
To many residents, this action by the City of Markham appears to be a case of “killing a mouse with an elephant gun”. There can be many explanations for the crushed and broken seedlings – this space was used regularly by Markham schools for sporting events, particularly long distance running. In addition, the lack of signage to identify the seedlings' existence could well have contributed to their damages.
To this day, the City has not responded positively to the residents request to meet and discuss improvements and adjustments to the project. It has now even placed coconut mats around each seedling which is a tripping hazard in the winter time under the snow as there will be people doing cross country skiing and snow shoeing in this “planted” field. Many of the coconut mats were already shredded by mowing tractors this last summer.
Clearly, this is not just a simple case of “NIMBYISM” (Not in my back yard) reaction from local residents. Next time, we will look into some of the details surrounding this issue and what can be the solutions if the City will only listen to those who know about the area's activities.
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