Potential Threats to the Speed River Valley Cultural Heritage Landscape
The City of Guelph has commenced Schedule C Environmental Assessment (EA) for Niska Road. This EA will be identifying all options including the rehabilitation and replacement options for the Niska Road, the Bailey Bridge and Niska Road from the Speed River to Downey Road. Some of these options (if selected) will include road widening, and re-grading… These options may permanently alter the Speed River Valley Lands and could damage or even destroy the viewscapes forever.
The publicly owned GRCA’s lands South of Niska Road have been designated for low and medium density housing (up to 6 stories) in Guelph’s revised Official Plan OPA 48 (under appeal); even though the GRCA has stated a public feedback process will still be completed BEFORE anything is final.
We do not support the sale of irreplaceable publicly-owned river lands for housing development. As Guelph grows and becomes denser with population and industry, we will need green public areas where we can relax and spend time with nature. William Wyte said “Great cities need places of respite, inspiration, beauty, and wonder”. The Speed River valley lands are our place!
Our beautiful, river-valley viewscape must be protected as an exquisite example of a pre-settlement, natural setting and a gateway to the continued pastoral valley lands of rural Puslinch and Guelph EramosaTownships. This area provides a sense of place and allows our community to envision the setting in which the early agricultural roots of Guelph and PuslinchTownship developed. We value this heritage and want to protect it for future generations.
How can we protect the Speed River Valley Heritage Valley Land?
- The City should amend Guelph’s Official Plan the stop the development of our publicly-owned valley lands.
- The City should activate its 2010 request to the Province of Ontario to place our all of our public river valley lands into the Province of Ontario’s Greenbelt. Only then will our Speed and Eramosa River Valley publically-owned lands be protected under Ontario’s provincial Urban River Valley Greenbelt designation.
- The city should designate the Speed River Valley Lands in the area of the historic Niska Road as a “cultural heritage landscape” under the Ontario Heritage Act.
Contact Mayor Farbridge at firstname.lastname@example.org and request that these lands be placed under Ontario’s Urban River Valley Greenbelt designation as they requested in 2010.
The Possibilities are Endless…What is your Vision?
Once protected as part of the Greenbelt we envision many benefits to the people of Guelph. Since this area is the on the city transit route it is available to everyone. The GRCA will be starting a public process for management plans of these lands in 2015. By joining the Speed River Valley Lands Working Group, you can help shape our Vision by supporting:
- Tree planting and restoration of meadow habitat
- Providing river access for canoe launching and quiet contemplation on the banks of the Speed River
- Recreational trails; day camping for directed nature appreciation
- Outdoor fitness circuit
- Community gardens; a place of respite where you can go to be calmed and restored
- Educational opportunities that connect children to nature
- All reachable by public transit…
Meeting Notes-Niska Bridge-Jan 15-2015.pdf