A popular station in the Cedar Valley Conservation Area is being mined by the city of Oshawa this week.
Tim Bird, a North Oshawa resident who has wilderness survival training, built the lodge during the initial lockdown in a green space south of the Durham College campus.
“It was a nice distraction from lockdown for me, and it was meant for others to discover and enjoy, too,” explains Bird.
Built next to the creek with a wooden seating area, the lodge also has a cedar bark roof that makes it waterproof. It quickly became a popular spot for hikers and families, as well as people looking for a place to relax and meditate.
Additions included swings and a slide for children. Many just found it a peaceful rest stop.
Bird said the guest books at the lodge were filled with heartfelt thank you notes from hundreds of people.
“The amount of wonderful people I met there are just amazing, people of all ages.”
Everything was going well until about six weeks ago.
“That one group of rowdies discovered it about a month or six weeks ago, and it has been in trouble ever since. They’ve had fires, they leave rubbish behind, they’re destructive, ”Bird said, adding that the lodge visitors emptying alcohol after the group and signs against fire made no difference. “I met them once, they were belligerent.”
As a result of the behavior, there was a complaint to Oshawa City. The city has told Bird that the lodge will be dismantled on May 20th.
He said he was sad to hear the news but understood the reasons for the dismantling.
“I see the risk of forest fires especially when the undergrowth starts to dry up, I can’t disagree,” said Bird. “It wouldn’t be a problem without these idiots, but it only takes one.”
However, some members of a Facebook group dedicated to the spot hope that it can be saved and have started a petition. In response to correspondence from group members, the city’s Bylaws Department highlighted violations related to drinking in parks as well as the bylaws against erecting buildings in parks.
Bird said he has no plans to rebuild it elsewhere.
“It would be hard to duplicate this place with the sound of the brook and the trout swimming up, I don’t think it can be reproduced.”