Protect and Keep the Twelve Mile Creek Ravines Alive. Stop its Destruction! 

Protect and Keep the Twelve Mile Creek Ravines Alive. Stop its Destruction! 

October 1, 2021
Petition to
David Oakes (CAO City of St. Catharines) and 3 others
Signatures: 2,264Next Goal: 2,500
Support now

Why this petition matters

Started by Friends of 12 Mile Creek

The Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games (CSG) constructed a brand-new mountain bike racecourse, which has resulted in significant environmental destruction of the Twelve Mile Creek woodland and watershed. The contractor, the Niagara Trail Maintenance Association (NTMA), was given full permission and unsupervised authority to develop the course and many other trails for this new mountain bike “racecourse” since the beginning of August 2021. This Twelve Mile Creek watershed of forest, natural vegetation, creeks, valleys, wetlands, steep hills, ridges, and wildlife habitats has been cut, removed, excavated, dug, disrupted, and permanently altered.  

The surrounding Niagara community have been opposed to this development and are extremely disturbed about the total lack of community consultation and the total abuse and misuse of this natural area. It is a travesty that this mountain bike racecourse was built in a fragile ecosystem, on already erosion prone ravine slopes, and adjacent to residential property lines.

Since the initial game bid in 2016, the mountain bike course was to be prepared using existing mountain bike trails on Brock University lands where there is suitable sport infrastructure, facilities, parking, and decades precedent of mountain biking riding. The terrain and existing trails of Brock University lands were the ideal location for the mountain bike course and competition.  We were strong supporters of the CSG, and of the original bid location, but not the change of venue that has now destroyed one of the last natural and undisturbed greenbelt areas of St. Catharines.

This new mountain bike racecourse and playground trails were developed and built without any oversight of environmental authorities, or the City of St. Catharines.  Similarly, there was no oversight by the landowner (Ontario Power Generation), nor cycling stakeholders such as the cycling community of Niagara, Cycling Canada or Ontario Cycling Association.  In other words, there was no formal supervision of any kind, as the NTMA did whatever they wanted, supported by a strong vocal public relations campaign and support from the Mayor of St.Catharines who acted without Council knowledge or approvals. 

The CSG and Ontario Power Generation misled the community regarding the construction of this new mountain bike racecourse.  The CSG chair, Doug Hamilton stated in a minimally distributed letter back in June of 2021 that there would be “upgrades of safety and other minor improvements to the trail system”. Ontario Power Generation stated in response to our community concerns that “the games are permitted to make improvements to existing trails to improve safety for cyclists and recreational users.” 

The current reality is that the NTMA, contracted and funded by the CSG, developed an entirely new trail system in areas where there were no existing trails, primarily in the upper slopes.  They fulfilled their mission unabated, excavating the ravine, cutting vegetation, building bridges, shovelling out berms and building up embankments to create a brand-new racecourse.  Additional mountain bike playground trails are being continually cut into previously untouched ravine areas.  The steep slopes of the Twelve Mile Creek ravine are fragile, covered in dense vegetation and mature forest, forming an important wildlife habitat.  In addition, these ravine slopes have a history of instability with slope degradation and collapse.  

There are multiple trail networks in Niagara that have decades of mountain biking history and a precedent of riding, racing and coexisting with other trail users.  This new trail development was never necessary and it continues to pose a very real threat to the environment and to residents of the areas bordering the Twelve Mile Creek. 

We are community members, residents, athletes, sporting enthusiasts, experts and scholars, and we supported the CSG as being good for Niagara overall. However, we are passionately opposed to the continued destruction of the Twelve Mile Creek woodland and watershed.  We are opposed to the explicit repurposing of this natural area for mountain bike racing.  We have been fighting this issue since August, 2021 and we will continue to do so until this racecourse is removed.

We are continuing our fight to save this natural gem from further destruction.  We are pushing hard for a full review of what happened at 12 Mile Creek and to demand that the man-made bridges and features be torn down and that the entire trail system on the upper slope be closed to mountain biking and restored to its previous natural state. 

We will need your support in order to be heard and affect this change. 

Therefore we request immediate cessation of any further trail development in the Twelve Mile Creek ravine.  We further request that the racecourse be removed and the ravine be restored to its previous natural state.  Sadly this will take years, but we need to stop the senseless, continued destruction now.

Visit our website where we have a chronology of what occured, articles and documents, and pictures and videos.  Our video in this petition was taken in August of 2021 as work was starting.  You will see for yourself the sad transformation of a healthy ravine into a mountain bike playground.

Please sign our petition today.

Support now
Signatures: 2,264Next Goal: 2,500
Support now

Decision Makers

  • David OakesCAO City of St. Catharines
  • Chandra SharmaCAO Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
  • Jim BradleyChair, Niagara Region
  • Brian HeitRegional Councillor, St. Catharines