The Credit River Park Strategy (CRPS) envisions the 27-kilometre stretch of the Credit River valley within the study area as the natural centerpiece of Mississauga’s parks and open space network forming a critical linkage between the upper watershed and Lake Ontario. The Strategy sets out a sustainable, innovative and environmentally responsible Master Plan that will support a diverse, self-sustaining ecosystem and will afford opportunities for recreation, socialization and education while protecting, enhancing and celebrating the natural and cultural heritage of the Credit River. The Master Plan promotes the establishment of a continuous ‘Natural Corridor’ that comprises a mosaic of woodlands, wetlands and diverse habitats that stretches the length of the corridor, enhancing connectivity and ecological function through robust reforestation efforts that will be implemented throughout the next quarter century. The ‘Natural Corridor’ will be supported by the ‘Transitional Beltlands’ that are proposed to buffer the corridor from the effects of the adjacent urban matrix and make the ‘Natural Corridor’ more resilient and sustainable over time. The river itself is envisioned as a key element within the Master Plan, affording ecological benefits while at the same time providing opportunities for recreation, education and tourism.
The CRPS was the product of an extensive consultation process that involved stakeholder interviews, community and public meetings and a bus tour, reaching over 35,000 residents throughout Mississauga. As a result of this process 35 core objectives were established. The objectives related to natural heritage, cultural heritage, community, sustainability and regulation and spoke to both physical intervention and management initiatives. The vision, goals and objectives that were defined and confirmed through the consultation process, formed the foundation for the CRPS and a basis for the Master Plan and Preferred Concept Plans for each of the seven “Feature Sites”.
The “Feature Sites” are positioned as destinations along the valley corridor, each characterized by a unique theme and offering a different range of experiences. Some of the “Feature Sites” are proposed to provide opportunities for public education in relation to alternative energy, urban farming and organic agriculture contributing to biodiversity, recycling and energy conservation. Other sites are proposed to promote the arts and culture, featuring environmental art gardens, public art and interpretive displays that are designed to complement existing educational and interpretive programs. Envisioned as the centrepiece of the Master Plan, ‘Riverwood’ will serve as the centre of visitor experience and orientation and due to its proximity to Mississauga’s downtown core will become the City’s “Central Park.”
The Strategy includes an ambitious Implementation Plan that sets out directions to guide the realization of the Master Plan and Concept Plans for the “Feature Sites”. The Plan sets out a process to facilitate the development of detailed designs for the various elements proposed. Requirements for technical investigations, public and First Nations consultation and the securement of the necessary permits and approvals from various regulatory agencies are addressed within this component of the overall Strategy. The Implementation Plan also addresses recommendations related to land ownership, requirements for business and operations plans, funding and partnership-building.