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LETTER: Overgrown Holland Marsh berms should be left alone, says Bradford resident

Letter writer says the money it would cost to mow the berms could be better used for other projects in Bradford West Gwillimbury
2018-08-08-holland marsh berms
This section of a berm in the Holland Marsh shows the overgrowth next to a section a local homeowner has taken the liberty to cut back. Jenni Dunning/BradfordToday

BradfordToday received the following letter from Jennifer Gleason, which she sent to all members of Bradford West Gwillimbury council.

Earlier this month, council voted to consider spending about $31,000 in the town’s 2019 budget to buy equipment for cutting overgrown berms — sloped strips of land along the Holland Marsh canal — and hiring seasonal employees to do the work.


Dear honoured mayor and members of the town council,

I am writing because I read in the Bradford local news that the council was considering mowing (half of the) berms along Canal Road at a cost of $4,500 per mowing.

I have lived by the canal my whole life, and it has a very special place in my heart. Every time I drive along the canal, I take delight in the wildflowers that have begun to grow in the places where the canal banks were rebuilt. Beautiful trees used to grow along the bank before the new canal was dug, and I have been looking forward to the day when the trees would begin to grow back.

Has the council considered options other than mowing? In this day and age, we really need to be considering what it does to the environment and local wildlife to have a monoculture (just grass), and the use (of) fossil fuels for mowing.

Instead of mowing, perhaps the council could take the funds that would've gone towards mowing, and invest them in trees, and perhaps trails and benches or other features that would make the berm look cared for and tidy while making it welcoming for people to use it as a green space.

This would save the expense of mowing, reduce noise pollution from loud mowing machines for those living along the berm, while providing an enjoyable place to walk and explore and enjoy the forests for current residents who have no sidewalks to safely walk along, and would protect the environment and wildlife of the Holland Marsh for the enjoyment of future generations.

Another use for the funds might be to repave the road itself, which is still in disrepair from the heavy machinery used to dig the new canal more than five years ago. Completion of the rebuilding and repaving of Canal Road itself would go a long way towards making the area more tidy and civilized and less of an "embarrassment.”

If you wanted some inspiration, I encourage you to look to how the Town of Newmarket approached the project of allowing the natural wildlife to grow along the edges of Fairy Lake in the places where 20 years ago everything was mown.

Or park your car in the parking lot of Westside Church and take a walk to the top of the hill, on the small mown trail that runs along the side of the road going up the hill and down again on the other side of the road. It's a glorious place to walk and the only thing that is mown is a strip about a metre wide.

Thank you for your time, and I trust that you will make a wise decision.


Jennifer Gleason

Bradford West Gwillimbury