Durham Meadoway project to connect trail networks from Pickering to Oshawa

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Published November 17, 2022 at 3:05 pm

A Toronto planning and design firm has been hired to “reimagine” the 27-kilometre Durham Meadoway, a hydro corridor that extends from the Rouge Park in Pickering to Simcoe Street in Oshawa.

SvN Architects + Planners (SvN) has been retained by Durham Region’s Planning Division to develop a visioning study for the 27-kilometre “under-leveraged” Durham Meadoway, which is located primarily in the Gatineau Hydro Corridor. SvN will work with Region staff and area municipalities, conservation authorities, agencies, and community stakeholders to provide a vision and framework to guide future planning and implementation of active transportation infrastructure, ecological enhancements and community amenities within the corridor.

The Durham Meadoway extends across four area municipalities, 23 neighbourhoods, a 400-series highway, a golf course, conservation areas and numerous creeks, trails and arterial roads.

“The scale of this corridor is simply immense,” says Jonathan Tinney, Principal, SVN Architects + Planners. “The changes in topography, landscape characteristics, land use and ownership make this a very complex project. But that complexity and scale mean this project has the potential to define a new identity for Durham Region by reimaging a single-use infrastructure corridor into a multi-faceted space for people.”

 

Durham Chair John Henry said the study will be about “utilizing our hydro corridors to connect to our trailways,” adding that the work will also tie into a similar project happening in Scarborough that will eventually allow people to travel from Oshawa to downtown Toronto without ever leaving nature behind.

“People can walk, ride a bike or jog, but the opportunity is there to go from Oshawa to Pickering – it will connect our communities along Taunton Road,” he said.

Durham Region Chair John Henry

Durham Meadoway runs west from Simcoe at Winchester Road into Whitby before looping south near Cochrane Street to Taunton Road where it proceeds west – mostly on the south side – before making another southerly swing at Westney Road in Ajax, connecting with existing pathways along the way. At Rossland Road it makes its final push into Pickering where it eventually connects with the Rouge Park at the Pickering-Scarborough border.

Through this study SvN will try to create environments that support active and passive recreation facilities along the corridor, while increasing biodiversity and creating critical habitats for wildlife. The vision will enable additional ecological, social and economic opportunities—yielding a holistic re-visioning that will illustrate this significant corridor’s dynamic potential while still supporting its importance for electricity transmission.

“Reconceiving the importance of the Durham Meadoway is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform a single-use hydro infrastructure into a multi-use space for the public,” says Sam Dufaux, Principal, SvN Architects + Planners. “This corridor has the potential to become new green infrastructure to help transition Durham Region into a low-carbon, climate-resilient region. It will become a regenerative landscape with a public realm serving the surrounding communities and celebrating the distinctive natural heritage assets of the Region.”

SvN’s approach will engage stakeholders – including OPG and other utility companies – as well as residents and business owners, communicating with them at key milestones along the way. The vision for the corridor will also define a transportation strategy across its length and variability that reflects local site history, spatial conditions, unique landscapes and community aspirations.

The study is targeted for completion in the summer of 2023.

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