Save the Valley Committee : Environmentalist of the Year – 1981

Dating back over the past thirty years, there were powers determined to pave the Red Hill Valley. This little Valley has won the hearts of many citizens through the years. Those who know it, love it and can identify with it, realize its certain and positive benefits to their very existence. To pave the Red Hill Valley has sparked many, over the past thirty years, to stand up and be counted in numerous ways.

In the late twenties land was being accumulated in the Valley area for parkland. Until the late fifties, land owners sold their land with the understanding that it was to be developed as parkland. Otherwise they would not have sold.

When concerned citizens became aware that an expressway through the Valley was predetermined, small pockets of citizens were apparent and made their disapproval known. In the spring of 1973, groups assembled in many areas surrounding the Valley to protest. Meetings were held with political representatives both west and east of the 7-1/2 miles of residential areas. In one meeting at City Hall, 200 people were present. Briefs, and a petition of 700 names, to save the Valley, were presented to the decision makers. The concerted effort resulted in a political decision to delete an expressway through the Valley from the official plan, and to retain the Valley as parkland.

Many of those involved at the time, and their children, are now paid members or on the executive of the present “Save the Valley Committee”.

In the spring of 1979, many were surprised to hear that the proposed alternatives for a north-south, east-west expressway were on view at the various public schools and that all six alternatives were through the Red Hill Valley. Three hundred alarmed residents, including their high school children, gathered at a neighbourhood corner to meet with politicians. From this meeting an organized committee to save the Valley was instituted. Many worked diligently and with a sense of purpose to defend the Valley.

A decision by Regional Council in 1979 to build the controversial expressway brought about a long and determined fight to save the Valley. Much hard work in the raising of large amounts of money for experts and lawyers is a certainty for the future, as it has been in the past. These funds will be needed at the combined Environmental Assessment and Ontario Municipal Board hearings. The hearings are expected to be long and costly.

A special tribute is paid to those who have been forerunners in defending the Valley. Their work has made it possible for us to have a Valley to love and to protect.