Does the Beach need a new stairway to heaven?

A sign near this pathway is calling on ward 36 councillor Gary Crawford to help install stairs. PHOTO: Lara O'Keefe

It’s no secret that the beach has a number of access points – some better known than others, wink, wink – but residents are now raising concerns about the danger that can be present at these points, saying something needs to be done – and soon.

A sign recently posted near a pathway that descends to the beach. PHOTO: Lara O’Keefe

A sign was spotted on a fence leading down to the beach from the area of Rockaway Crescent and Fallingbrook Road encouraging neighbours to put pressure on ward 36 councillor Gary Crawford to install stairs that would allow people to safely descend towards the beach.

Crawford said he is aware of the issues with the stairs and explained that part of the problem is there were actual stairs there “many, many years ago, but it’s an informal path that is not maintained by the city.”

The city and Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) indicate they are on top of the issue with the TRCA saying plans to complete an environmental assessment of the area from the Scarborough Bluffs to the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant are in the works.

“TRCA has been asked to look at the Scarborough bluffs west of Bluffers Park over to RC Harris after we have finished the easterly section of bluffs currently underway. We expect that an [environmental assessment] process could start in early 2018,” said TRCA waterfront specialist Nancy Gaffney.

Crawford said they’ll be looking at a number of different things on the waterfront, and one of them will be appropriate access to the waterfront. He confirmed that within this assessment, they “will be looking at the feasibility of putting in stairs or different access points down to the beach.”

This differs from TRCA’s perspective. “The city will have to undertake repairs to the stairs long before they can be informed by the [environmental assessment] to be done by the TRCA,” said Gaffney.

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Public access yes, destruction of sand beaches no. This community will need to stand up and fight for the preservation of natural sandy beaches. As we have been doing in the East. Get involved often and early, for if the TRCA has their way, it will be paved, and there may be no safe access INTO the water.

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