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Help Save David Dunlap Forest

The David Dunlap Observatory Forest is under threat from developers. The 125 acre piece of land in the heart of Richmond Hill is a site of cultural, scientific, and environmental importance. The observatory was given by the Dunlap family to the University of Toronto in 1932 for research, with the condition that it would be returned to the family if the university no longer needed it as an observatory. After a legal battle over this condition, the university successfully sold the property to Metrus Properties for $70 million. In May 2013, the Ontario Municipal Board facilitated a multi-party settlement agreement between Metrus and community groups. The agreement will allow Metrus to rezone the property to build 520 housing units and give the town of Richmond Hill ownership of the actual observatory and 40 hectares of forest as a cultural heritage landscape under the Ontario Heritage Act.

One community group, Save David Dunlap Forest, continues to oppose this deal. The forest observatory provides a much-needed home for deer, coyote, and rare birds in the middle of the city. The forest is in the heart of Richmond Hill along the Yonge Street corridor and is subject on all sides to ever-expanding urban sprawl. It is also part of the Don River watershed, which has been subject to increased flooding in recent years due to climate change. Development on a site of such environmental, cultural, and scientific significance is short-sighed and misguided.

To learn more about Save David Dunlap Forest, please visit the groups Facebook page. The group is asking supporters to send letters to Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin asking him to place a Ministerial Zoning Order to stop the development.