Rouge Park, located in Scarborough, will be Canada's first national urban park.

Officials answer questions from residents on Rouge Park

Officials representing the Rouge National Urban Park recently held a community meeting to give residents a better understanding of the new park.

The meeting, which was held Oct. 15 at the Scarborough Civic Centre, offered details on exactly what areas and lands will be included in the park, and also gave residents a chance to have their questions answered by Toronto city planner Jane Weninger, Parks Canada superintendent Pam Veinotte, and Toronto city councillor Raymond Cho.

Cho, who represents Scarborough-Rouge River, is excited for the changes coming to his ward.

“I’m so happy that Rouge Park will become a national park, and that the federal government allowed it,” Cho said after the meeting. “I’m so happy that the national park is in my ward, too.”

There was some concern among the residents about the term “urban” being used in the name of the park. One resident said because the park is near an urban area, residents would want it to be a national park rather than an urban one. Making an urban park such as High Park a national one would be a “disgrace,” he said, adding that the term was “thrust” into the name, and that community members did not want the park to be “High-Park-ized.”

Veinotte responded by saying that each comment and concern will be reviewed and taken seriously into consideration.

Some of the land to be included in the park belongs to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, while a few small areas belong to the City of Toronto. However, the city’s official plan states that any land that belongs to the city cannot be sold or disposed of, “unless the lands are exchanged for other nearby land of equivalent or larger area and comparable or superior utility.” The city is working to amend the plan so the land belonging to the city can be transferred to Parks Canada.

Rouge National Urban Park will not include private land, infrastructure, the Toronto Zoo, or the former Beare Road landfill. Parks and open space areas will continue to remain as such.