End of the line for orchard?

[attach]5784[/attach]In 2009, a community group called Growing for Green planted a small orchard of fruit trees at Ben Nobleman Park, right outside of Eglinton West subway station.

Now, that orchard could be under threat due to Toronto’s growing transit plans.

As the TTC considers plans for the coming Eglinton West light rail station, one location being floated for the local station’s south entrance is within Ben Nobleman Park.

“Right away I expressed my concern to the liaison people from the TTC and I said we in our community are so excited about the light rail but you don’t want to destroy our beautiful park in the process,” said Growing for Green’s coordinator Susan Poizner who first heard of the proposal during a Mar. 28 meeting between community members and transit officials. “One thing that I strongly believe is when you lose green space you never get it back.”

If the park site is chosen for the south entrance Poizner said it would deliver a serious blow to the orchard, which aims to provide fresh fruit local food banks and community events.

“It would take out three to six of our most mature trees and understand that we do only have 14 fruit trees so basically that’s half our orchard,” Poizner said. “We are concerned.”

According to David Nagler, member of the community relations team for TTC transit expansion, there is no need to be concerned yet.

“There’s no decision yet made,” he said of the location of the south entrance. “We explored options both in the park as well as continued to look at the police station parking lot.”

Nagler said that there was no proposal to place the entrance in the park in the initial proposal and that the suggestion was made by community members during a Feb. 2 consultation.

“We were quite surprised to hear from residents initially that said to explore the park,” he said. “But we wanted to follow up and we’re happy to hear from local residents who are now also raising concerns about the park, which we had anticipated.”

The idea of placing the south entrance in a portion of the 13 Division police station parking lot is being discussed. The TTC is also considering forgoing a south entrance all together but stressed that the final decision is in the hands of Metrolinx.

An online survey was conducted as part of the community consultation asking for input concerning the south entrance’s location. Nagler said the results of the survey would be released in late April and that a final decision will be made in the next few months.

“Right now both the police station option as well as the park option are on the table,” he said. “We need to review the results of the report first.”