As has been lamented by many, our ravines were not explicitly afforded the kind of support in the City’s 2019 budget that we all know they so sorely need. This isn’t exactly surprising. TFN knew that this would be an uphill battle. Given the recent and radical changes to the size and structure of City Council, this year’s budget did not exactly follow the paths established in past years, and their willingness to expend political capital was adjudicated by forces obscure to many of us.
Sometimes, however, victory takes an unexpected shape. While the 2019 Budget does not feature dedicated funding for our ravines, the Budget was passed with amendments requesting that staff “… report to the Budget Committee on the budget required to implement Toronto’s Ravine Strategy for consideration prior to the 2020 Budget Process.” Further, as part of this, staff is to “… report back, as part of the Ravine Strategy implementation plan in the second quarter of 2019” on ways to develop an invasive species removal framework, advancing the City’s native species planting programs, and to deal with the chronic litter problem in our ravines.
There is little question that these advancements would not have been possible were it not for the efforts of organizations like Toronto Field Naturalists, ProtectNatureTO, Toronto Ravine Revitalization Study, and Don’t Mess With The Don. During the 2019 Budget process these groups wrote letters, delivered deputations (like the one in the video above), met with Councillors, and did everything else in their powers to passionately advocate for our ravines.
Progress would also not have been possible without the actions taken by Councillors Brad Bradford and Mike Colle, who both made meaningful efforts to make these advancements a reality.
Finally, but most significantly, congratulations and thanks is owing to all of the TFN members who signed our petition, wrote their own letters, and advocated in a wealth of other ways for something we all love so deeply.
TFN will continue to work in support of appropriate funding for the Ravine Strategy in anticipation of the 2020 Budget. Further updates will be published on this website and in the newsletter.