After encouragement from Friends of the Coves Subwatershed Inc. (FOTCSI) and Old South Community Organization (OSCO), in August 2008 City Council voted to purchase a 3.9 hectare (9.66 acre) parcel of land adjacent to The Coves' East Pond. This land encompasses most of the northeastern shoreline of the East Pond and adjacent floodplain lands which, although strictly zoned to discourage most development, were still at risk of development for uses not consistent with conservation, such as a mini golf course or tennis courts. Former owner Chata Holdings put forth several development proposals of their own for the site over the years before finally deciding the City was the most appropriate owner for the land; that became a reality in early 2009.
Soon after, negotiations that had been ongoing for years with private landowners of another smaller (0.5 acre) adjacent property to the south finally concluded and that property was also acquired by the City. The acquisition of this property resulted in a continuous public greenspace corridor stretching around the east half of The Coves - from the Thames River and the West Pond through Greenway Park, along the East Pond shoreline and the South Pond shoreline to the west end of Cliftonvale Avenue, interrupted only by Springbank Drive and Cove Road.
This is a vital stretch of Coves greenspace which provides habitat and a travel corridor for an abundance of animal and plant species, protects the shoreline from erosion, and protects water quality in the Coves, among countless other benefits. It also contains geographic features and habitat responsible for The Coves’ Environmentally Significant designation.
A trail that has been trespassed on for decades through the East Pond Woods is now legally accessible to the public. City of London Parks Planning staff report that few changes will occur immediately besides signs to mark the property. Potential plans for the future include trail signs and blazes, a small bridge for a creek crossing, and possibly some rerouted and/or wooden boardwalk sections, all in efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the path and visiters on the natural environment.