German Mills Settlers Park Sanitary Infrastructure Protection Project

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is undertaking creek realignment works to protect at-risk sanitary sewer infrastructure and a multi-use trail within German Mills Settlers Park.

Project Location

The project is located along an estimated 370 metre-long stretch of German Mills Creek, within German Mills Settlers Park. The project area is situated west of Don Mills Road between John Street and Steeles Avenue East, in the City of Markham. A York Region sanitary sewer line and the Lake to Lake multiuse trail run parallel to the east bank of the watercourse in the park. In some places, the sanitary line also crosses the watercourse.

A map showing the project area, including trails that will be closed during construction and an approved detour route
A map of the project area, including trail closures and detour route

Learn More About This Project

Project Background

The Leslie Collector sanitary sewer was installed within German Mills Settlers Park in 1970. Since then, German Mills Creek naturally migrated within the floodplain. The creek has eroded its banks and shifted close to, or over top of, the sanitary sewer in places. As a result, the sewer is now at risk of exposure in six distinct locations in the park.

In 2018, TRCA began a Schedule B Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for Water and Wastewater Projects. This process is used to determine the best approach for handling infrastructure hazards. Three alternative solutions were proposed to protect sanitary sewer infrastructure. TRCA consulted the public as part of this process, which you can read more about in the Public Consultation section below.

Erosion has caused the watercourse to move, the movement has caused large trees such as the one in the photo, to become at risk of falling.
Erosion has moved the watercourse over top of the sewer line near the north end of the project area. It is also causing large trees to fail, which could lead to further damage to the bank
An existing stone bank in place to protect the sewer line and maintenance hole is in poor condition and not providing appropriate protection, it will need to be replaced.
Existing stone bank protection near the south end of the project area is in poor condition. It isn’t providing adequate protection to the sanitary sewer line or maintenance hole and will be replaced with the proposed works

Scope of Work

The project will involve realigning the watercourse to a historical channel alignment, which is further from the sewer and trail. Different types of bank protection will also be installed. These will include vegetated stone revetments, live staking plants directly in the bank, brush layering, and reconstruction of an existing armourstone wall. Additionally, habitat features for native wildlife will be constructed, including woody debris which provides cover for aquatic species. Two oxbow wetlands will also be connected to the watercourse, of which one will be newly created.

Replacement of the old crossing with a new 30 metre pedestrian bridge will also be part of the works. A portion of the recreational trail will be realigned to meet the new bridge.

A pedestrian bridge crossing German Mills Creek has an exposed abutment with an erosion scour surrounding it.
Abutment of pedestrian bridge has been exposed by erosion over the years. It will be replaced with a larger bridge to move the abutments further from the watercourse.

The area will be restored using native seed mixes and native trees and shrub plantings upon completion of the project.

Construction Information

The project will commence in fall 2022. Regular updates will be provided for the duration of the project, which is planned to continue through spring 2023.

The section of the Lake to Lake trail which runs through German Mills Settlers Park will be closed for the duration of the project to ensure public safety. A detour route has been provided and a map showing the route (see the Project Location section above) will be posted at the park entrances to guide trail users for the duration of the closure.

For your safety, please respect all posted construction signs and stay clear of the work area and equipment. Your cooperation and patience is appreciated.

Public Consultation 

A Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) is a study that identifies potential positive and negative effects of municipal infrastructure projects. It includes consulting the public and stakeholders, evaluating alternative designs, and identifying ways to reduce any negative impacts.

In 2018, TRCA commenced Phase 1 of the Schedule B Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for Water and Wastewater Projects, in accordance with the Environmental Assessment Act. The MCEA process included:

  • April 26, 2018 – A Notice of Intent initiating the project was published in the Markham Economist.
  • May 29th, 2018 – A Public Information Centre meeting was held for community members to provide input on the planning and design process.
  • Summer 2018 to Spring 2019 – Channel Realignment with a Pedestrian Bridge Extension was determined as the preferred alternative (Concept 3 from the Project File) based on technical evaluation and public comments. TRCA completed the environmental analysis and a Schedule B Municipal Class Environmental AssessmentProject File.
  • August 8, 2019 – A Notice of Completion was published in the Thornhill Liberal to invite interested community members and regulatory agencies to review and comment on the Project File.
  • September 7, 2019 – The public consultation period for the Project File concluded. No concerns regarding the project were raised.

To view project notice and consultation material, follow the links below:
Notice of Intent
Public Information Centre Meeting Presentation
German Mills Settlers Park Sanitary Infrastructure Protection Concepts & Evaluation
Public Consultation Comment Form
Site I-152 Emergency Interim Works – Notice of Construction
Notice of Completion
Project File with Appendices

Project Updates

July 2022

TRCA has retained a contractor and is currently obtaining final permits and approvals in preparation for the start of construction. Construction will begin in fall of 2022.

September 25, 2019

The public consultation period for the Schedule B Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Project File concluded on September 7, 2019. Additional project documentation was provided to Indigenous groups who expressed interest in the project. No other comments were received during the consultation period. As such, TRCA will finalize the Project File and begin development of detailed designs for the preferred alternative.

August 8, 2019

The Schedule B Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Project File has been made available to the public for review. Individuals have the opportunity to submit written comments for a period of 30 days from the publication of the Notice of Completion. Upon receipt, all received comments are considered public records and will become a part of the Project File. TRCA will provide a further update following completion of this 30 day review period.

October 17, 2018

Please be advised, the emergency interim sanitary protection works for I-152 (Site 2) were completed the week of October 15, 2018. As a follow up to the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process, TRCA is continuing to draft the Project File of which will be made available to the public for review and comment in summer 2019.

Contact Us

For more information regarding this project, please contact:

Philip Wolfraim, Project Manager
Erosion Risk Management | Restoration & Infrastructure
9755 Canada Company Avenue, Vaughan ON L4H 0A3
(365) 566-2383
phil.wolfraim@trca.ca