London City Council proposes recreational use of Byron gravel pits

CREDIT: KONSTANTINOS DROSSOS
With the gravel extraction project nearing completion, the City of London is planning on transforming the Byron gravel pits into a space for Londoners to enjoy.

The City of London is planning the redevelopment of the Byron gravel pits. With the completion of the realignment of Commissioners Rd., the City has shifted its focus to its next massive project.

For many years now, the City has been planning to turn the area into a recreational space for Londoners to use. The City has proposed three different plans for the area, with pathways and different pockets of the land to be used for various conservation efforts.

Ward 9 Councillor, Anna Hopkins, said the City has been quite eager to begin the project.

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“We’ve been talking about developing the gravel pits for many, many years and we are now finally reaching the stages where we’ve come up with a plan,” Hopkins said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the pit now that it has to be naturalized.”

The City proposed three plans showing the different ideas for how the area could be developed, mixing both environmental and recreational activities for locals to enjoy.

“At the bottom of the pit, there’s a lake there and so I think the naturalization is really important. It’s going to be looked at as we go through the process on trails and how we use it and…connect to other areas like Springbank Park,” said Hopkins.

Pockets of the pits also have native vegetation to the area which the City plans to make part of its conservation plans. Further research into the area shows that there are signs of wetlands developing around the lake, in the centre portion of the gravel pits, while the steep slopes of the land are home to Bank Swallows and a discovery of a possible monarch butterfly habitat.

Other schematics showed proposed locations for recreational spaces around the land. The first showed a lakeside cafe and boardwalk paths that trail throughout the landscape with others showing an alpine obstacle course, a dirt bike park, or for the lake to be transformed into a beach with a water park in its centre.

“We need to know a little bit more how that’s going to work and a lot of that is going to be undertaken when we start to develop it. We’ll be able to determine a little bit more as we go forward how to conserve the multiuse pathways and I think there’s a lot more to be determined with the recreational part,” Hopkins said.

City council will discuss which plan to go with in the first quarter of 2024.