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Albion Hills Conservation Area: Master Plan

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The Albion Hills Conservation Area (AHCA) is 495 ha outdoor recreation area located in the Town of Caledon just north of Bolton off of Hwy 50. As Ontario's first conservation area, AHCA has provided the community with over 40km of trail, camping, fishing, picnicking, and a splash pad and pool facility for the last 60 years. In order to meet the needs of a growing Peel Region, and to ensure that the porperty is able to adapt to the changing trends in recreation, TRCA has initiated the development of a master plan for the property. The vision for the Plan works towards providing much needed improvements to the current infrastructure, as well as developing a number of recommendations that will assist in growing the outdoor recreation protfolio within the community.  

What's New?

Since fall of 2013 TRCA staff and the Public Advisory Committee have been working hard to develop the AHCA Master Plan. With comments received from all of our committees, and from various public consultations undertaken as part of this process, we now have our first draft of the Albion Hills Conservation Area Master Plan!  

We have recieved a number of great comments and suggestions on the draft Plan from each of our committees. As we begin to address some of these changes, we would also like to recieve your input on the Plan and its recommendations. A copy of the draft AHCA Master Plan is attached below. If you have any comments or suggestions that you feel would help make the document better, please use the attached comment form to organize your submission (see below). Once completed, please email the completed form to kkrawczyk@trca.on.ca so that your comments can be incorporated where possible.  

Highlights- Albion Dam & Pond Restoration

The Albion Hills pond is a feature that was made possible in the 1960's with the construction of the Albion Dam. The dam was built in Centreville Creek in order to provide the newly formed Albion Hills Conservation Area with a recreational swimming area. In 2009 swimming was removed from the pond with the addition of a splash pad and pool facility.

Starting in 2012, a number of studies have been conducted on the dam in order to assess the safety and structure of the 50 year old dam. The studies have revealed that the internal structure of the dam has begun to erode and fail, and is in need of a complete removal and rebuild. TRCA has responded by taking interim measures to ensure the safety of the structure for the time being.

Given the high cost to rebuild the dam, the negative environmental impacts associated with damming a cold water stream, and the uncertainty of securing permits for dam replacement it was recognized that a long term strategy was needed for the Albion dam and pond.

The AHCA master planning process helped to inform the vision for the Albion dam, along with the input from both a public and internal advisory committee which helped establish the requirements for the conceptual site plan. The result of this 7 month process was an enhanced vision for the site that included the removal of the Albion dam and restoration of the natural alignment of Centreville Creek.

The principles established at the beginning of the process that are addressed within the conceptual site plan include:

1. Importance of Esthetics on the site post removal while providing an enhanced recreation Hub for AHCA
2. Need for enhanced water feature on the site
3. Need to provide a flexible and inviting venue for small and large public events
4. Need to highlight the fisheries and restoration on the property; and
5. Timing the restoration of the Lakeview site in a manner that minimizes disruption of park activities.

With help from the Landscape Design firm DTAH, we created a conceptual site plan for the future Lakeview area and a number of different perspective renderings to help show what the future of the site will look like following the removal of the dam and restoration of the area.

The slides below show the future conceptual vision for the Lakeview area!

Property Information

The Albion Hills Conservation Area (AHCA) provides the surrounding region with numerous safe, nature based recreational opportunities. AHCA is located in the Town of Caledon within the Regional Municipality of Peel. More specifically, it is bordered by Patterson Side road to the North, Old Church Road to the south, and Hwy 50 and Humber Station road east and west respectively.

Offering over 40 kilometers of trails in the summer months, AHCA accommodates both hikers and mountain bikers on one of Southern Ontario's top trail destinations. In the winter 27 km of trail are groomed and set for cross country skiing, snow shoeing and tobogganing. Users can visit the water play facilities, enjoy camping, hiking, biking, fishing or picnicking. Students can also visit one of the two education centers onsite as part of their educational curriculum. AHCA also features a community farm which employs sustainable agricultural practices while providing the surrounding community with local and ethically produced food.

Master Plan Process

Moving forward, TRCA is looking to expand on these planning documents and provide an updated Master Plan for the property which will help to guide future management. This Master Plan will both provide an overall structure and direction to guide future initiatives, while at the same time integrate the need to protect the ecological and cultural integrity of the property and the watershed. With the projected population growth across the region, demand for nature based recreation facilities will grow. This plan will provide an opportunity to review existing recreational uses and management practices to ensure the property remains positioned as a premier destination in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Master Plan will integrate and enable a number of TRCA initiatives, including:

Furthermore, the Master Plan will address a variety of issues within the AHCA including:

  • protection of both natural and cultural heritage systems;
  • recommendations for existing and new recreational and educational activities;
  • recommendations for restoration and agricultural use of the property;
  • recommendations regarding site securement and protection of the property

Map

Timelines

The Albion Hills Master Plan consists of 3 phases of development;

Phase One: September 2013 - January 2014- COMPLETED

  • Complete background report including site securement and protection recommendations;
  • Establish public and staff advisory committees and host required meetings;
  • Host a public information session;
  • Circulate a study newsletter;
  • Conduct an AHCA public survey;
  • Develop draft plan vision, goals and objectives.

Phase Two: February 2014 - July 2015- COMPLETED

  • Determine draft management zones;
  • Develop draft trail, recreation and facilities plans;
  • Host advisory committee meetings as needed;
  • Public Engagement (Events).

Phase Three: July 2015 - March 2016- ONGOING

  • Develop draft Master Plan and circulate for comment;
  • Host final advisory committee meetings;
  • Host public open house;
  • Develop implementation strategy and budget;
  • Obtain partner and TRCA Board endorsement.

Public Consultation and Engagement

The Master Plan has been developed with the guidance of an advisory committee made up of representatives from the community, partners and special interest groups. This committee met at regular intervals in order to offer guidance on key components of the Plan. We also hosted a Public Information Session to gauge public opinion on the initial draft vision and component developments. Thoughout the process TRCA staff attended a number of different community events to distribute information about the Plan and receive comments on the various components.

The Master Plan User Survey, which was active for over a year, gathered information about how people are using the facilities and the level of satisfaction with its current state of repair. This information helped to guide some of the key recommendations within the Plan. 

Public Information Centre (PIC)

Additional Project Resources

Contact Information

If you have any additional comments or questions, please contact:

Kimberly Krawczyk- Planner, Greenspace Conservation

416.936.1335

kkrawczyk@trca.on.ca