Movement Strategy Fails to Put Nature and Pedestrians FirstHigh Park Movement Strategy enters final phase

Focus on Protecting Nature

When work on the City-led High Park Movement Strategy began in 2021, more than three-quarters of people surveyed sent a clear message :

  • Enhancing and conserving the park’s ecological integrity should be a high priority in any plans made for the park.

The City’s own Official Plan calls for this as well. Yet after almost two years of study, the close-to-final Strategy fails to make nature protection a top priority.

Focus on Pedestrian Safety

The study’s analysis of travel patterns showed that most visitors come to and travel within the park on foot. The Strategy claims to prioritize pedestrian safety and accessibility. Yet it fails to put pedestrians first. Instead it proposes:

  • Multiple lanes of “active transportation” on a car-free West Road
  • Formal pedestrian crossings where people on foot are to navigate across these faster-moving lanes
  • A new connection between West Road and Centre Road and
  • A new plaza for retail and other purposes.

Address Key Priorities

The Strategy fails to address how these changes support either nature protection or pedestrian safety.

More than half of High Park is designated by the City as an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA), and the park has multiple provincial environmental designations. Much of West Road is flanked by high-quality black oak savannah and woodlands on both sides. What could this new car-free space look like if it was designed with nature and pedestrians in mind?

The High Park Natural Environment Committee calls on the City’s Movement Strategy team to give top priority to the park’s ecological integrity and human safety.

The Movement Strategy should stick to the topic – how people get to and from the park, and how they move within it.  No new facilities or activities should be added without conducting a proper study (known as a Master Plan) that ensures compatibility with the long-term protection of the park’s natural features.  Such a study would also include a clear sustainable trail system, something that High Park badly needs.

Next Steps

The recommendations of the High Park Movement Strategy were released at a public open house on April 3, with final recommendations to go to City Council this spring. The Open House materials have been made available online so that you have an opportunity to review them. They can be found under the “get involved” tab on the project website (

UPDATE: The final report goes to the City’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee on April 26 and then to City Council on May 10. The NEC made a submission to the April 26 meeting.

Please join in the discussion and tell the study team and City Council to put nature protection and pedestrian safety first.


On February 2, 2023, the High Park Movement Strategy study team held a consultation session with external stakeholders. Read the full response of the High Park Natural Environment Committee here.

Background information about the High Park Movement Study

You can reach Councillor Gord Perks directly at and the HPMS project team at

Oak Savannah. Photo: Karen Yukich








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