Help Save Golden Forest Pond

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The time to act is now. Golden Forest Pond--located in Maple, just west of Peter Rupert Avenue and north of Rutherford Road--is a stormwater management pond with a pathway for walking or biking. For years this pond has been littered with trash such as shopping carts, BBQ's, plastic water bottles, coffee cups, bags, beer cans, wine bottles, boxes, old toys, food wrappers, and more. Many people even throw bags of dog excrement into the embankment beside the railroad tracks, and into the pond.

Since many people use this green space as their personal dumping ground, the impact on the environment and wildlife has become severe. In a recent article, it was estimated that it costs the City of Vaughan an extra $100,000 /year to clean up illegally dumped garbage. GFP is a place where we bring our families, children, and pets; we want this pond to be a clean and safe space where we can walk, play, and enjoy the outdoors. We should be conscious of our impact on the natural environment, and try to be respectful of wildlife, and of the other people who also use the space.

Many people may not be aware of the accumulation of litter in Golden Forest Pond. This is because the majority of the garbage directly borders the pond. If you only walk on the pathway it is difficult to see all the litter; you literally have to crawl through branches and bushes to be able to see it. The garbage that is scattered flows into the water where wildlife swim, which could cause them to become trapped and die. It is upsetting that in this neighbourhood such a beautiful pond is being littered with trash—this is unacceptable. 

I was finally fed up, and decided something had to be done.

On October 16, 2015, I contacted the City of Vaughan, and a work order was created which addressed the problem of littering and people not picking up after their pets. I also sent them pictures as evidence. I emailed a list of the actions that they should take immediately before the problem worsens. The list included: 

1. The garbage needs to be picked up and properly disposed of soon.

2. There should be garbage bins placed along the pathway.

3. There should be “No Dumping” or “No Littering” signs near the pond.

I never received a response from the City. During the seven months since I made the work order no changes were implemented. The littering problem actually got worse…much worse. On April 28, 2016, I called the City for an update on the work order. They told me that on November 17th 2015 City employees went out to inspect the site. They concluded that: “No dumping was found. Regular debris and garbage picked up. No illegal dumping signs required.” They closed the case. As a member of this community, and as a taxpayer, I refuse to accept this response from the City.

On Monday May 2 and Wednesday May 4, 2016, I went to Golden Forest Pond with a garbage bin, gloves, and signs, and cleaned the pond myself. I took pictures, and I removed a shopping cart that had been dumped right beside the pond. On May 4, I spent 5 hours cleaning, and I cleared out one full trash bag of dog excrement, and two full trash bags of recyclable materials. One of the more disturbing things I found amongst the trash were the remains of a large turtle--its shell and bones (shown in the picture above). I cleaned about 20% of the garbage in the pond, and there’s lots more that needs to be done.

The next step will be to escalate the issue by contacting the Councilor for Ward 4, as well as the Mayor of Vaughan. In order to do that I need the public’s help. Please support this cause by signing the petition. Together we can make change happen!

The Councillor for Ward 4, Sandra Racco, notified me on May 15 that Golden Forest Pond IS owned by the City of Vaughan, but they have not assumed it yet. This means that the City has not assumed the maintenance and related costs for the pond yet, and all maintenance related activities are still the responsibility of the Developer (Block 18 Landowners' Group) to complete. Douglas S. McGill is the manager for Block 18 Landowners Group. On June 6, they stated that they completed a detailed clean up recently, and the work was inspected by their landscape site inspector. On June 9, I went out to check if they cleaned the area as they say they did. The exact same litter that was there at the beginning of May (when I started this project) was still there, completely untouched. I'm curious as to where exactly they "cleaned." 

Visit the Facebook Page for pictures, updates, and scheduled clean up dates:

Read about my story in the Toronto Star and the Vaughan Citizen!

Thank you for your interest and support with this cause!