Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project

This undertaking is producing a flood protection solution that will eliminate the risk to life and property to ~210 hectares of land west of the lower Don River.

Through the use of computer models, this area has been identified as being within the Regulatory Floodplain, which is defined as the area of land that is anticipated to be flooded if a storm the size of Hurricane Hazel were to occur over the Don Watershed. Currently, two levels of development restrictions have been placed on the flood prone lands west of the Don River: Special Policy Areas (SPA) and Holding ‘H’ Areas.

Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project Study Area

Approximately 172 hectares have received a SPA designation, which allows new development to occur after appropriate flood proofing measures have been approved and incorporated into the design. The remaining 38 hectares, located immediately west of the Don River between the CNR bridge and Queen Street (which are known as the West Don Lands), possess an ‘H’ designation. Due to the very high degree of risk to flooding, this designation prevents any redevelopment to occur until a comprehensive flood protection solution for all 38 hectares can be implemented.

Flooding west of the Don River, resulting from a storm the size of Hurricane Hazel, would be enhanced by the damming effect of a too-narrow stream crossing under the Canadian National Railway (CNR) and other utility bridges, and the absence of a confining valley around the Don River. High water levels in Lake Ontario and ice jams during the winter and spring could also exacerbate the degree of flooding. Additionally, any flood protection solutions devised in the West Don Lands need to consider options to treat contaminated soils and groundwater within the area, which resulted from past industrial activities.

This undertaking is located in the heart of Toronto. As such, many cultural, social and economic issues had to be addressed to design flood protection for this area when it comes to devising a design that will provide flood protection for Toronto. Railway operations and infrastructure, land use planning, municipal infrastructure, recreation, the natural environment, the local economy, and public health are issues that were examined through the environmental assessment process.

Project Objective

The objective for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project is to protect human life and infrastructure from flooding by permanently removing approximately 210 hectares of Toronto from the Regulatory Floodplain, west and north of the Don River Mouth.

What’s New

August 11, 2007 – TORONTO AND REGION CONSERVATION & WATERFRONT TORONTO
are happy to announce that the Don River Trail between Queen Street East and the Martin Goodman Trail has been officially reopened in the morning of Saturday August 11, 2007.

When you have the opportunity to use this section of the trail once again, we hope that you will notice the:

  1. Significant widening of the railway crossing over the Don, which has been undertaken to improve the conveyance of flood water through this area;
  2. Enhancements to the trail crossing underneath the new bridge extension which will improve sight lines and visibility for trail users, reduce the path’s gradient as it goes underneath the railway bridge, widen the pathway for increased safety, and elevate the pathway to reduce the frequency of inundation during high river levels; and
  3. Location of the new trail crossing under the tracks that follow the west bank of the Don River. This new crossing will connect the Don River Trail with the future West Don Lands Community and Don River Park. This new crossing will remain closed to the public until the Don River Park has been completed to the west of the tracks, sometime in late 2008 – early 2009.

Users of the trail during the week of August 13 to 20 will also notice some construction occurring along the west bank of the river on the north side of the new railway bridge. Construction crews will be using small excavators and bobcats to complete a new outlook in this area which will give trail users a safe and excellent view of the river. During this period of time, trail users are asked to use CAUTION when travelling down this section of the trail in order to avoid the machinery, and to respect the direction of safety personnel on site.

Trail users may also notice a barge and divers in the Don River underneath the railway bridge during the week of August 13 to 20. Divers will be cutting away the last pieces of steel sheets that formed the original river bank prior to the start of this project.

Orange snow fencing will installed on either side of the trail and left on site until October 2007. These fences will be used to reduce traffic onto the exposed soils bounding the trail, which cannot be planted until cooler and wetter conditions prevail in September. We ask that trail users respect these fence lines to ensure that the site remains undisturbed until TRCA nursery crews are able to complete the plantings on site.

We apologize for the delays in the reopening of this section of trail but we hope that everyone will enjoy the changes that have been made.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would also like to thank CN, GO Transit, Hydro One, the City of Toronto, Ontario Realty Corporation, Group Telecom, Rogers Cable, Toronto Terminals Railway, Toronto Hydro, Toronto Economic Development Corporation, the consultant team of Totten Sims Hubicki, UMA Consultants, and the Concreate USL team for working so hard over the last 2 years to make this complex project a success. We would especially like acknowledge the efforts of our dedicated members of the Community Liaison Committee and everyone else that had attended our consultation events throughout the planning process for the Class Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project , 2003.

The first component of the Class EA, the railway bridge extension, is nearly completed. Component 2 identified in the Class EA, the Flood Protection Landform, is being led by the Ontario Realty Corporation on behalf of Waterfront Toronto and TRCA, and is currently underway in the West Don Lands which is scheduled for completion in late 2008.

If you have any other comments or questions, please feel free to contact Ken Dion at kdion@trca.on.ca.

Past Newsletter Archive

Associated Documents

Save All

LDRW-News-Jan2004

Lower Don River West News Remedial Flood Protection Project, January 2004

LDRW-News-July2008

Lower Don River West News Remedial Flood Protection Project, July 2008

LDRW-News-July2007

Lower Don River West News Remedial Flood Protection Project, June 2007

LDRW-News-Nov2006

Lower Don River West News Remedial Flood Protection Project, November 2006

LDRW-News-Jan2005

Lower Don River West News Remedial Flood Protection Project, January 2005

Meeting Summaries

Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project Public Meetings

  • PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE AND MEETING #3, Tuesday, September 21, 2004
    Meeting Summary Notes – 134k
    LDRW Meeting 3 Summary Notes – September 21, 2004
  • PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE AND MEETING #2, Thursday, April 29, 2004
    Meeting Summary Notes – 104k
    LDRW Meeting 2 Summary Notes – April 29, 2004
  • PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE AND MEETING #1, Monday, January 19, 2004
    Meeting Summary Notes – 217k
    LDRW Meeting 1 Summary Notes – January 19, 2004

Class EA for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project

October 6, 2005 – Class EA for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project – Notice of Project Approval

Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) has now completed the planning and design process approved under the Environmental Assessment Act in Conservation Ontario’s Class Environmental Assessment for Remedial Flood and Erosion Control Projects for undertaking a remedial project regarding the removal of risk due to flooding of 210 hectares of land located west of the Don River near Lake Ontario in the City of Toronto.

We thank you for your interest, and for your participation in the planning of this project. Digital copies of the Notice of Project Approval are available for download below and from the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation.

January 18, 2005 – Class EA for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project is Available for Public Review

Be advised that the Draft Class EA for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project has been submitted for a 30 day public review.

Hard copies of the Class EA document are available for review at:

  • TRCA Head Office (5 Shoreham Drive)
  • TWRC Head Office (207 Queen’s Quay West – Suite 822)
  • St. Lawrence Library (171 Front Street East)
  • Toronto City Hall – City Clerks Secretariat (100 Queen Street East)
  • Toronto Metro Hall – Urban Affairs Reference Library (55 John Street).

Digital copies of the Class EA are available for download below and from the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation.

Digital copies of the official Notice of Filing Document for Review and the fourth edition of the LDRW News newsletter are also available for download below.

Please feel free to review and comment on the draft Class EA. You may submit any comments or questions by mail, email or fax to:

Michelle Vanderwel
Don Watershed Administrative Clerk
Toronto and Region Conservation
5 Shoreham Drive Downsview, ON, M3N 1S4
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext. 5280
Fax: 416-661-6278
mvanderwel@trca.on.ca

Appendices:

  • Appendix A Public Consultation Details
  • Appendix B Mississaugas of New Credit
  • Appendix C Correspondence with Stakeholders
  • Appendix D Hydraulic Modelling Details
  • Appendix E Aquatics Report
  • Appendix F Terrestrial Natural Heritage Report
  • Appendix G Cultural Heritage Report
  • Appendix H Geo Environmental Study
  • Appendix I Rail Transportation Study
  • Appendix J Terrapex & Terraprobe Reports
  • Appendix K East Bank Flood Protection Alternatives

If you wish to view any of the appendices please contact Ken Dion at kdion@trca.on.ca

Bala Subdivision Underpass

August 11, 2007 – TORONTO AND REGION CONSERVATION & WATERFRONT TORONTO
are happy to announce that the Don River Trail between Queen Street East and the Martin Goodman Trail has been officially reopened in the morning of Saturday August 11, 2007.

When you have the opportunity to use this section of the trail once again, we hope that you will notice the:

  1. Significant widening of the railway crossing over the Don, which has been undertaken to improve the conveyance of flood water through this area;
  2. Enhancements to the trail crossing underneath the new bridge extension which will improve sight lines and visibility for trail users, reduce the path’s gradient as it goes underneath the railway bridge, widen the pathway for increased safety, and elevate the pathway to reduce the frequency of inundation during high river levels; and
  3. Location of the new trail crossing under the tracks that follow the west bank of the Don River. This new crossing will connect the Don River Trail with the future West Don Lands Community and Don River Park. This new crossing will remain closed to the public until the Don River Park has been completed to the west of the tracks, sometime in late 2008 – early 2009.

Users of the trail during the week of August 13 to 20 will also notice some construction occurring along the west bank of the river on the north side of the new railway bridge. Construction crews will be using small excavators and bobcats to complete a new outlook in this area which will give trail users a safe and excellent view of the river. During this period of time, trail users are asked to use CAUTION when travelling down this section of the trail in order to avoid the machinery, and to respect the direction of safety personnel on site.

Trail users may also notice a barge and divers in the Don River underneath the railway bridge during the week of August 13 to 20. Divers will be cutting away the last pieces of steel sheets that formed the original river bank prior to the start of this project.

Orange snow fencing will installed on either side of the trail and left on site until October 2007. These fences will be used to reduce traffic onto the exposed soils bounding the trail, which cannot be planted until cooler and wetter conditions prevail in September. We ask that trail users respect these fence lines to ensure that the site remains undisturbed until TRCA nursery crews are able to complete the plantings on site.

We apologize for the delays in the reopening of this section of trail but we hope that everyone will enjoy the changes that have been made.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would also like to thank CN, GO Transit, Hydro One, the City of Toronto, Ontario Realty Corporation, Group Telecom, Rogers Cable, Toronto Terminals Railway, Toronto Hydro, Toronto Economic Development Corporation, the consultant team of Totten Sims Hubicki, UMA Consultants, and the Concreate USL team for working so hard over the last 2 years to make this complex project a success. We would especially like acknowledge the efforts of our dedicated members of the Community Liaison Committee and everyone else that had attended our consultation events throughout the planning process for the Class Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project , 2003.

The first component of the Class EA, the railway bridge extension, is nearly completed. Component 2 identified in the Class EA, the Flood Protection Landform, is being led by the Ontario Realty Corporation on behalf of Waterfront Toronto and TRCA, and is currently underway in the West Don Lands which is scheduled for completion in late 2008.

If you have any other comments or questions, please feel free to contact Ken Dion at kdion@trca.on.ca.

April 11, 2006 – Award to Undertake Construction of Kingston Subdivision Bridge Extension and Bala Pedestrian Underpass at Don River

Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) and CN Railway have awarded a contract to Underground Services (1983) Ltd. to undertake the construction of the Kingston Subdivision Bridge Extension and Bala Pedestrian Underpass at the Don River. Construction start-up will commence over the next 7 to 14 days.

As part of the construction start-up, security fencing will be installed across the Don Watershed Trail at Martin Goodman Trail and at the Queen Street flyover. It is anticipated that this trail will be officially closed to public access by April 17, 2006 and will remain closed into Spring 2007. Please see the entry below this one for the map detailing the area of trail closure. We want to thank you for your involvement in helping us reach this momentous occasion throughout the development of the Class EA for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project, and in the development of detailed designs. Construction of these two project components are the critical first steps in realizing the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation’s vision for a renewed waterfront, and the partial removal of TRCA’s highest priority for flood protection in our jurisdiction.

TRCA will continue to provide updates as key milestones are reached throughout the construction of these two project components. For more information, contact Ken Dion, Project Manager, at (416) 661-6600 ext. 5230 or at kdion@trca.on.ca.

January 9, 2006 – Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project – Notice of Trail Closure

Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) is now beginning work on the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project. To facilitate this work, the Don Valley Trail will be temporarily closed from Queen Street south to Lakeshore Blvd. from April 2006 through to Spring 2007. This section of trail will be fully upgraded with a new, widened section under the rail bridge and a new underpass connecting to Mill or Front Street and the future West Don Lands community.

Updates for Projects by Waterfront Toronto

Functional Design

Detailed Design

Project Background

Four projects were identified by the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC) to jumpstart the transformation of Toronto’s unattractive and underdeveloped central waterfront into a vibrant residential, economic and recreational centre. This vision for a revitalized waterfront consists of prominent cultural institutions, attractive parks and open spaces, and diverse and dynamic commercial and residential communities. One of these mandated projects identified that an environmental assessment would be conducted to develop the best option to re-naturalize the mouth of the Don River and to provide flood protection for the city’s downtown core.

Flood protection for the lower Don River is a key component of Toronto’s waterfront revitalization. What’s more, Toronto and Region Conservation has identified the lower Don River as our number one priority for flood protection since 1980, due to the large population and extensive infrastructure currently at risk to flooding.

TRCA is carrying out this priority project on behalf of the TWRC. Two undertakings, each requiring a separate environmental assessment process, will be conducted (one in progress, one completed) to meet the objectives for the Don Mouth Priority Project.

The Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project (LDRW) serves to remove approximately 210 hectares of land west of the Don River from the regulatory flood plain. The natural, cultural, social and economic conditions of the study area have been taken into account in eliminating the risk of flooding to this area. The study for this project began May 2003 and received EA approval October 6, 2005. Construction began in May 2006 and will be completed in mid to late 2008.

The Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project (DMNP), will require detailed land-use planning and environmental studies to devise the best solution to reestablish a natural, functioning wetland at the mouth of the Don River, while providing flood protection to approximately 230 hectares of land south and east of the existing Keating Channel.

Consultant Team

Dillon Consulting Limited

A team of consultants led by Dillon Consulting Limited were retained by the TRCA to conduct the Class EA for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project.

Dillon Consulting Limited was the lead consultant, responsible for the overall delivery of services, project management, and the integration of the analyses by all team members. The firm operates from 18 offices to provide services to clients in Canada, the USA and overseas, and offers a staff complement of over 400 professionals with diverse capabilities. A major strength of Dillon includes their wide ranging experience in the planning, design and implementation of major flood control projects.

Similarly, Dillon has been at the forefront of the Canadian consulting industry in the field of environmental assessment since the advent of provincial and federal processes in the 1970’s. In addition to being experienced practitioners, their staff is also engaged in teaching environmental assessment, and the development of EA techniques and procedures for federal and provincial agencies (including Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) procedures for ports and harbours across Canada).

Waterfront related projects include Pacific Place in Vancouver, and numerous redevelopment/port planning assignments within Ontario municipalities, including Windsor, Toronto, and Sault Ste. Marie
The other members of the Consultant Team included:

  • Acres International Limited;
  • URS Canada;
  • Envision – the Hough Group;
  • FIScH Engineering;
  • Parish Geomorphic; and,
  • Greenberg Consultants.

Marshall Macklin Monaghan

Marshall Macklin Monaghan (MMM) conducted the hydraulic analysis for the Class EA for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project.

With respect to the Hydraulic Study, MMM was assigned the following responsibilities:

  • Establishing the hydraulic models;
  • Preparing and running the models for the alternatives developed through the EA process;
  • Providing expertise on the model, limited to only set-up and output interpretation (MMM will not provide advice on the development and fine-tuning of the alternatives);
  • Providing all input and output data to TRCA and the consultant team; and
  • Ensuring that the data can be incorporated into the sediment transport/deposition models to be developed by the consultant team.

The consulting team directed and incorporated the hydraulic analysis information and recommendations produced by MMM into the coordinated EA process.

Planning Mechanism for the Undertaking

The Conservation Authority Class EA

The Conservation Ontario Class Environmental Assessment for Remedial Flood and Erosion Control Projects was used to conduct this study. This process is for projects undertaken by a Conservation Authority that will protect human life and property in previously developed areas from an impending flood or erosion control problem. This Class EA process outlines the steps required to devise and select the best remedial flood control measures for a project through a detailed technical and public evaluation of alternatives, and to identify the best means to mitigate any residual adverse environmental effects resulting from the project.

The CEAA Environmental Screening Report

Under the triggers of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, it was determined that the Lower River West Remedial Flood Protection Project did not require a CEAA Environmental Screening.

Agency and Public Consultation

The Conservation Authority Class EA process guarantees numerous opportunities for public and stakeholder participation throughout the planning stages of a project. Consultation was coordinated by the TRCA with the aid of the Public Consultation and Community Outreach Section, City of Toronto, Works and Emergency Services Department. A summary of the various consultation venues for this project is below.

  • A Technical Advisory Committee comprised of stakeholders, technical representatives of all pertinent regulating agencies, and key community leaders;
  • A Community Liaison Committee, representing a broad spectrum of public interests provided representatives of the local community with the opportunity to participate in the planning stages of the project;
  • Several public events provided opportunities for input and feedback from the general community; and
  • Regular newsletter and website project updates were issued.

Technical Advisory Committee

The Technical Advisory Committee consisted of representatives from the following organizations, community groups and government agencies:

  • Canada Lands Company
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (observers)
  • Canadian National Railway
  • City of Toronto
  • City Planning
  • Commissioner’s Office
  • Economic Development, Culture & Tourism
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Public Health
  • Technical Services
  • Transportation Services
  • Water and Wastewater Services
  • Environment Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • GO Transit
  • Home Depot Canada
  • Korex Don Valley Canada
  • Ministry of Culture
  • Ministry of Environment (observers)
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • National Energy Board
  • Ontario Realty Corporation
  • Ontario Superbuild Corporation
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada
  • Queen Broadview BIA (South Riverdale Community)
  • Task Force to Bring Back the Don
  • TEDCO
  • Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
  • Toronto Police – Marine Unit
  • Toronto Port Authority
  • Toronto Terminals Railway
  • Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation
  • Transport Canada
  • Unilever Canada
  • West Don Lands Committee

Community Liaison Committee

A Community Liaison Committee was established for the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project. This Committee consisted of representatives of the local community and will assist the TRCA throughout the Environmental planning process, including the provision of assistance at public workshops and events.

The Community Liaison Committee included representatives from the following groups:

  • Citizens for the Old Town
  • Cityscape
  • Corktown Residents & Business Association
  • Don Watershed Regeneration Council
  • Food Share
  • Gooderham & Worts Neighbourhood Association
  • Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation
  • Port Lands Partnership
  • Queen-Broadview BIA
  • South East Downtown Economic Redevelopment Initiative (SEDERI)
  • South Riverdale Revitalization Project
  • St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association
  • Taddle Creek Watershed Initiative
  • Task Force to Bring Back the Don
  • Toronto Cycling Committee
  • West Don Lands Committee

In addition, the Toronto City Councillor, MP and MPP for each of the following wards or ridings participated in the CLC process:

  • Councillor, Ward 28
  • Councillor, Ward 30
  • MPP, Broadview-Greenwood
  • MPP, Toronto Centre-Rosedale
  • MP, Broadview-Greenwood
  • MP, Toronto Centre-Rosedale