After the death of Captain Rattray, the Meadow Wood Property-Owners Association and others fought in the early 1960s to preserve his lakefront estate for posterity as a nature preserve. They were unsuccessful and the dry lands of the estate were developed for housing as the “Estate of Colonel Rattray” (promoted from captain by the developer).
By the late 1960s, the Meadow Wood Property-Owners Association had ceased to operate.
In 1968, with the exception of Streetsville and Port Credit, the area of the original Toronto Township was transformed into the Town of Mississauga.
In 1971, the Town unveiled the Lakeshore Community Study. This study proposed to jam 25,000 people (the size of the City of Barrie at that time) into apartments and housing in the narrow strip of land between the railway tracks and Lakeshore Road to the north and south, and Port Credit and Southdown Road to the east and west. Residents were concerned, and realized that they must organize in order to have input in the planning of their community.
Like door-to-door evangelists, concerned residents of the Bexhill Road area began to canvass the streets of South Mississauga inviting homeowners to attend meetings about the radical changes proposed for the community.
As residents in The Rattray Estate, we were presented with the option of joining the newly revived Bexhill Road Residents Association or forming our own local association. We chose to go with our own local association but saw merit in close cooperation with other area associations. Most other areas chose to form their own associations but agreed to work together on common issues.
While forming a Rattray Residents Association, several former members of The Meadowwood Property Owners decided to join us.
Thus, in 1972, the two were born as unincorporated associations, the Meadowwood-Rattray Residents Association (MRRA) and the Council of South Mississauga Community Associations (CSMCA) with representation from 13 local ratepayer groups in south Mississauga, including the MRRA.
The CSMCA won a triumphant week long hearing about the Lakeshore Community Study at the Ontario Municipal Board. We were represented by Murray Mogan (a member of the Whiteoaks-Lorne Park Association, and subsequently a judge). We were awarded costs which was unheard of at that time for ratepayer community interventionists. We were also given the right of mandatory consultation of ratepayer groups by staff on all future planning decisions by the Town. (This right is still being enjoyed today through formal committees of consultation).
In 1974, the towns of Mississauga, Steetsville, and Port Credit were amalgamated to form the City of Mississauga. Most of the resident’s active in the MRRA and the CSMCA supported the election of Mary Helen Spence, an activist with the Bexhill Road Association, to city council.
Through Mary Helen Spence, and then councilor of the ward of Streetsville, Hazel McCallion, the CSMCA worked for the purchase of the remaining undeveloped wetlands of the Rattray Marsh and the knoll.
Hazel McCallion was also treasurer of Mississauga at the time. The City would be responsible for half the cost of the purchase of the lands and the province the balance. The estimated cost of the land was $1,250,000.
Hazel wanted a moral commitment from us that we would attempt to raise $50,000 (approximately10% of the City’s share) for the purchase if the City agreed to proceed. The MRRA thought that was too little, and we committed to raising $100,000. Working with The Nature Conservancy of Canada and a financial campaign committee of local residents consisting of Ruth Hussey, Dr. Alf Brooks and myself, and with the support (for $45,000) of Gulf Oil of Canada (then owner of the Petro-Canada refinery) and many other local businesses and residents, we raised well over the targeted amount.
When the Rattray Marsh was acquired, we established the Rattray Marsh Protective Association from members of our association and the Bexhill Road Association that continues to this day to cooperate with the Credit Valley Conservation Association to keep the Marsh clean and safe.
Over the years the boundaries of our association have expanded to the east and west and now encompasses areas formerly covered by the Trenholm Residents Association and the Clarkson Road South Association and some additional streets. We have become an incorporated association under the current name of The Meadow Wood Rattray Ratepayers Association.
In addition to hosting an annual neighborhood picnic, and holding annual and special information meetings, we continue to work through several committees with industry and others to abate pollution, and with the City and developers to influence development in the area.
Although we continue as a local area residents association with particular concerns for our own back yard, we continue to cooperate with other residents associations through MIRANET (the successor to the CSMCA). We have been involved with many issues that affect south Mississauga such as the placement of potential gas energy generation plants in east Oakville, Clarkson, and the Sherway plant. As well as other proposals such as the redevelopment of Clarkson Village that could impact the quality of life in our community.
Going forward, we remain as concerned, involved and community focused as ever.
-- Written by Paul M. Moore, MWRRA Past President & Founding Member
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