Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014

 
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
Management Planning for the
  Cheltenham Badlands
       June 18, 2014

                              Slide 1
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
BACKGROUND

             Slide 2
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
N

Slide 3
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
Badlands Natural Heritage Features
 •   The Cheltenham (or Caledon, or Inglewood) Badlands is one of the best
     examples of “Badland topography” in Ontario

 •   Bedrock at the Badlands is Queenston Shale, the base rock of the Niagara
     Escarpment; it is over 445 million years old

 •   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

 •   The Badlands is an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (Earth Science).

 •   The unique topography is a strong draw for tourists, school groups at all
     levels, and the media arts community (filming, photography, etc.)           Slide 4
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
Badlands Location

                                                Slide 5
Photo courtesy Jan Hannah
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
Badlands Location

                                  Slide 6
Photo courtesy Jan Hannah
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
Property Background – Acquisition and Access
 •   The Badlands lie entirely within the 36.6-hectare “Cooper Property”

 •   Cooper Property was acquired in 2000 to secure the Bruce Trail with a
     grant of $550,000 from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) under
     their Niagara Escarpment Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program

 •   The main Bruce Trail crosses the property from the southern to the
     northern corners, with a side trail crossing through the southwest to access
     Old Baseline Road

 •   Formerly a side trail allowed access from the main trail up to the unofficial
     viewing area by the road; this trail was closed in 2007 due to concerns over
     erosion of the treadway and maintenance issues
                                                                               Slide 7
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
Slide 8
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
Property Background – Management and Stewardship
•   The Ontario Heritage Trust (OHT) holds title to the property, and the BTC
    has management responsibilities for the site under an agreement with the
    OHT

•   Stewardship of the Badlands property, as with all properties managed by
    the BTC, is carried out by volunteers (in this case the Caledon Hills Bruce
    Trail Club and the Caledon Countryside Alliance) with assistance and
    guidance from the BTC Land Stewardship Committee and BTC staff (Land
    Stewardship Coordinator, Conservation Stewardship Officer and the
    Executive Director)

                                                                              Slide 9
Management Planning for the Cheltenham Badlands - June 18, 2014
MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES
OVERVIEW

                        Slide 10
Management Challenges
•   The Badlands are a unique and striking
    area

•   A very common stop for “Day Trip”
    tourists who will visit for fairly short
    lengths of time  some weekends
    thousands of people visit the site

•   Management challenges appear to be
    related primarily to high public use of
    the site and include:
     o Concerns over safety along the road
       adjacent to the site, due to number of
       visitors and their cars
     o Garbage and littering
     o Vandalism of signage and trail
       structures
     o Creation of trespass or “rogue” trails
     o Impact from pedestrian and wheeled
       traffic on the slopes, trails and in other
                                                    Slide 11
       areas of the site
The Management Planning Process
•   The Cheltenham Badlands is considered an “Escarpment Access” park
    under the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP)

•   The NEP requires a Management Plan be prepared for the site

•   The Management Plan provides guidance to the landowner, land manager
    and planners on how the site should be used

                                                                        Slide 12
The Management Planning Team
•   A Management Planning Team has been struck, with representation from
    the:
     o   Ontario Heritage Trust
     o   Bruce Trail Conservancy
     o   Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club
     o   Region of Peel
     o   Caledon Countryside Alliance
     o   Caledon Environmental Advisory Committee

•   Ex Officio Members are representatives of:
     o Town of Caledon
     o Niagara Escarpment Commission
     o Credit Valley Conservation
                                                                       Slide 13
Management Challenges – Identification of the Issues
•   The Management Planning Team sees the issues as being related
    primarily to high public use of the site, including:
     o Concerns over safety along the road adjacent to the site, due to
        number of visitors and their cars
     o Garbage and littering
     o Vandalism of signage and trail structures
     o Creation of trespass or “rogue” trails
     o Impact from pedestrian and wheeled traffic on the slopes, trails and in
        other areas of the site

                                                                             Slide 14
Management Challenges – Interim Measures

• Increased engagement by the Peel Region; lead to traffic calming measures
  including reduced speed limits, by-law enforcement of no stopping/no parking
  during busy weekends, funding of a traffic study

• Solicitation of an erosion study to better understand the human impact at the
  Badlands

• Removal of defaced signage at the site; installation of garbage bins; regular
  visitation to the site to address garbage issues

• Erection of signs explaining site sensitivity and the need to remain at the “top” of
  the slope

• Gathering of site visitation data
                                                                                  Slide 15
Management Challenges – Identification of the Issues
•   The Management Planning Team sees the issues as being related
    primarily to high public use of the site, including:
     o Concerns over safety along the road adjacent to the site, due to
        number of visitors and their cars
     o Garbage and littering
     o Vandalism of signage and trail structures
     o Creation of trespass or “rogue” trails
     o Impact from pedestrian and wheeled traffic on the slopes, trails and in
        other areas of the site

•   These issues can be broadly categorized into two areas: Public Safety at
    the Road, and Visitor Access on the Site

                                                                             Slide 16
MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES
PUBLIC SAFETY

                        Slide 17
Public Safety
• The Badlands Management Team and the Region of Peel were
  concerned for the safety of visitors coming to the site

• The Team discussed options for the site:

   o Prohibit all visitation to the site (i.e. no parking or stopping along
     road; fencing off site)

   o Do Nothing (i.e. leave the situation “as is”)

   o Provide Parking, either on-street (“roadside”) or on-site that will
     accommodate the “normal” visitation and some of the exceptional
     situations (e.g. busses)
                                                                          Slide 18
Public Safety
• The Region of Peel
  conducted a Traffic Study

• The Study confirmed that
  the lack of appropriate
  parking combined with
  poor sightlines on Olde
  Base Line Road was not
  an ideal situation and had
  to be addressed

• The Study presented
  various options

                               Slide 19
Options for Controlling Traffic at the Site
                                                                                                                                      FOR THE
    Category                       Criteria                         Do-Nothing                                 Relocate Parking to                         Provide On-Street Parking                           Provide Parking
                                                                                                                Creditview Road                                    at the Site                                  Within the Site

                                                     • Visibility very poor to / from both         • Existing sightlines are poor - realignment of • Visibility very poor to / from both         • New parking lot access meets sightline
                                   Visibility          directions                                    Creditview Road would be required               directions                                    criteria

                                                     • 80 percentile of speeds travelled by        • 80th percentile of speeds travelled by         •80 percentile of speeds travelled by        • Traffic calming measures (speed humps,
                                                       vehicles exceed posted speed limits           vehicles exceed posted speed limits             vehicles exceed posted speed limits           advisory signing) introduced to reduce
                                                     • Speeds exceed safe speed for road           • Speeds exceed safe speed for road            • Speeds exceed safe speed for road              travelled speeds
                          Speed Management
                                                       geometry                                      geometry                                        geometry
                                                                                                                                                  • Some traffic calming available but no
   SAFETY                                                                                                                                            room for speed humps
                                                     • Parking area poorly defined – driver        • Parking area could provide parking for a few • Better defined to avoid driver confusion     • Best defined to avoid driver confusion
                                                       confusion                                     cars and no buses – approx. 710 s.m.
                        Parking Area Definition
                                                     • Potential for serious collision over time

                                                     • No pedestrian facilities                    • Improves pedestrian exposure as no need to • Pedestrian safety improved for parking on      • Pedestrian safety greatly improved
                                                                                                     cross road                                   the south side of the road                     • Visitor ingress/egress from vehicles
                         Pedestrian Exposure
                                                                                                                                                • No ability to create safe crossing for           greatly improved
                                                                                                                                                  parking on the north side of the road          • Bus loading safety greatly improved
                                                     • None                                        • Clearing of forested area adjacent to          • Clearing along roadside – approx. 955 s.m. • Clearing of forested area less impactful
                                                                                                     Creditview Rd. – approx. 710 s.m. of high                                                     than Creditview based on evaluation of
                                                                                                     quality forest                                                                                forest type - parking lot footprint approx.
                        Removal of Treed Area
                                                                                                   • Clearing required for new access trail –                                                      2250 s.m.
                                                                                                     approx. 600mx3m = 1,800 s.m. clearing                                                       • Updated access trail requires no additional
                                                                                                                                                                                                   clearing
                                                     • None                                        • Small impact, possible for nesting birds       • Small impact, possible for nesting birds   • Small impact, possible for nesting birds
                                    Fauna
  NATURAL
ENVIRONMENT                                      • No ability to provide controlled access to • Would require creation of an alternate        • Would require grading and fill at the main       • No impact to the main feature
                                                   protect the Badlands feature                 access via creation of a new trail or           feature of the site – approx. 5m within the      • Meets all Agency (NEC,CVC, MNR)
                                                                                                reinstatement of side trail previously closed   site would be filled                               regulations
                                                                                                                                              • Does not comply with Agency (NEC, CVC,           • Opportunity to build trail to viewing
                       Erosion/Feature Integrity                                                                                                MNR) regulations                                   platform to protection against erosion of
                                                                                                                                              • Has a major negative visual impact on the          the feature
                                                                                                                                                feature area
                                                                                                                                              • Surface run-off mitigation could infringe on
                                                                                                                                                the feature area
                                                 • Access available now, but could be         • Visitors would be required to walk an         • Access available but safety concerns             • Provides ability to link directly to future
                                                   severely restricted if Region implements additional non accessible 500m to Badlands remain                                                      viewing platform
VISITOR ACCESS        Ease of Access to Badlands
                                                   parking restrictions due to safety                                                                                                            • Dedicated parking facility assures
                                                   concerns                                                                                                                                        continued access to feature
                                                 • No Capital cost                            • High costs to improve sightlines on           • Limited number of parking spots achievable       • Maximum number of parking spots
                                                 • Continued maintenance of unofficial          Creditview Rd                                 • High cost per parking spot                         achievable compared to alternatives
    COST                Capital and Operating      parking area and shoulders                 • Limited number of parking spots achievable • Medium cost for continued maintenance               • Medium cost per parking spot
                                                                                              • High cost per parking spot                                                                       • Medium cost for continued maintenance
                                                                                              • Medium cost for continued maintenance

  most      neutral        least

                                          The Management Planning Team’s preferred option is On-Site Parking                                                                                                                  Slide 20
The On-Site Parking Lot Footprint
 • Agencies met on-site to determine the “preferred footprint” of the
   Parking Lot ensuring each of their applicable regulations were
   adhered to

                                                                        Slide 21
The On-Site Parking Lot Footprint – Ecological Review
 •   An updated biological inventory was carried out to assess current ecological
     conditions in the area of the proposed parking lot

 •   Information from past inventories were used to assess the natural heritage
     features of the property including
      o Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Earth Science Area of Scientific
         Interest candidate report from 1976,
      o MNR Species at Risk (SAR) report from September, 2012, and
      o Credit Valley Conservation Natural Areas Report from 2009

 •   BTC staff ecologists performed a 3 season ecological inventory in 2012
     which included Ecological Land Classification, flora and fauna species
     inventory, SAR inventories and breeding bird surveys

 •   Information shared with consulting firm developing the preliminary design, to
     assess the natural impacts to the natural features and prepare plans to
     mitigate construction impacts if necessary

 •   No Species at Risk or other sensitive species were noted in the area of the
     proposed parking lot
                                                                              Slide 22
The On-Site Parking Lot Access
• The “stop controlled access point” was identified based on sightline
  analysis and approved by the Region of Peel

                                                                    Slide 23
The Parking Lot Design - Plan View

                                     Slide 24
Parking Lot - Artist’s Concept

                         Slide 25
Accessible Parking
• The project includes providing 2 accessible parking spots on the
  south side of Olde Base Line at the current informal access point

• These spots will be linked to the future viewing platform and allow
  everyone to enjoy the Badlands

• The spots will comply with Accessibility for Ontarians with
  Disabilities Act (AODA)

• No other parking will be permitted along the road in the vicinity of
  the Badlands site; parking will only be permitted in the parking lot

                                                                         Slide 26
                                   Photo courtesy Jan Hannah
MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES
VISITOR ACCESS

                        Slide 27
Visitor Access

• Visitor access and impact on
  the Badlands site itself is also
  of concern

• Several “rogue” trails have also been created by people exploring
  the site

• The Planning Team partnered with the University of Toronto to study
  erosion to determine if human impact at the site (walking in the rills
  and gullies, etc.) was increasing the rate of erosion

• Studies have found that humans are having a significant and
  measurable impact.

                                                                      Slide 28
U of T Erosion Study
• Considerable erosion has taken
  place since 1973, caused by both
  natural and human impacts
   – As high as 3 m (see Red)

• Human Impacts
   – Preliminary results show up to 10
     cm of lowering in 3 years at the
     upper slope area.
   – This is 4 times the control rate of
     natural erosion

• Humans are having a significant
  and measurable impact to the
  badland topography

                                           Slide 29
Visitor Access
• Erosion studies highlight a conservation threat to the Badland
  Topography

• The Badlands Management Planning Team discussed options
  for the site:

   o Prohibit all visitation to the site

   o Do Nothing (i.e. leave the situation “as is”)

   o Provide sustainable access to the badland topography that will
     accommodate visitation while limiting impact
                                                                      Slide 30
Visitor Access
•   A viewing platform has been proposed to address issues around
    erosion and visitor access
      o Will help direct visitors to the viewing area and reduce impact
         on the shale slopes
      o Will enhance interpretive and educational experience
•   Planning for the viewing platform is in the preliminary stages; input
    is welcome
•   The Ontario Heritage Trust has made a commitment to fundraise
    for the Viewing Platform

                                                                            Slide 31
The Preliminary Viewing Platform Design - Overview
• The Viewing Platform Design Concept Will:
    – Provide access to “Main Viewing Area”/ Upper Slope Area
    – Ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience with minimal
      impact
         • Elevated platform with railings to restrict access and improve views
    – Provide opportunities to educate and inform the public about the
      Cheltenham Badlands, the site’s history and conservation
    – Structure will be designed to have the lightest touch
         • Storm water, aesthetics and structural design
• Access to platform primarily via a footpath from the parking area;
    – Access also to the accessible parking area at the road, and via a path back to
      the parking area long the roadway (with a protective barrier)

                                                                                       Slide 32
Proposed   Proposed
Viewing    Parking
Platform   Lot

                      Slide 33
PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

                     Slide 34
Public Involvement
 •   Public Outreach to Date
      – 2008 public meeting
      – Material on BTC and Caledon Hills Club web pages
      – Regular updates in Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club newsletters
      – Regular updates in Councillor Paterak’s newsletter, more recently
        mentioning the parking lot concept
      – Other articles in newspapers
      – Parking Lot Permit Application: Provides a formal opportunity to
        provide public input

 •   Are we addressing all of the issues? What are we missing?

 •   We welcome your input tonight, or via email to badlands@brucetrail.org,
     or by mail to:
           The Bruce Trail Conservancy
           P.O. Box 857
           Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3N9                                      Slide 35
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