Waterfront Toronto is building a series of boardwalks and bridges spanning the slips of the Central Waterfront, creating a 3 km length of public space. These walkways will form a vast pedestrian esplanade, enabling Torontonians to enjoy the waterfront.
Since the bridges and boardwalks will be shading out some aquatic habitat, they could negatively impact the habitat. So new habitat will be created in the harbour to compensate for the potential loss.
Spadina Slip was the first location to receive a new WaveDeck, with lots of new aquatic habitat that is illuminated at night to light up the life beneath the surface.
The Spadina Slip grand opening took place in September 2008. The WaveDeck provides 640 square metres of aquatic habitat, situated next to the pike spawning area of the Spadina wetlands, as well as 700 square meters of new public space.
A number of materials were used to create aquatic habitat in this deep-water, seawall environment, including boulders, smaller aggregate, root balls and large logs, creating lots of spaces for fish to hide. Aquatic plants are able to take root in the habitat features, providing both food and shelter for fish species.
Rees and Simcoe WaveDecks
Rees and Simcoe slips were the next to receive new WaveDecks. While the designs for these were more daring and ambitious than Spadina’s, the potential impact on local aquatic species was similar — requiring, once again, the creation of new habitat to compensate for potential losses.
In addition to the WaveDecks, Waterfront Toronto also plans to construct a series of footbridges at the mouths of some slips, to create a continuous promenade. Spadina Bridge will be the first to be built.
As with WaveDeck construction, there is the potential for negative impact on aquatic habitat, requiring the construction of new habitat. There is, however, one additional challenge in the case of the bridges: the waterway still needs to be navigable by boat. To avoid interfering with boating, the creation of aquatic habitat will need to be limited to the base of the concrete bridge supports.