Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project
Project information about this environmental assessment.
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The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto
Environmental assessment: approved, January 28, 2015
This project will transform the existing mouth of the Don River (the “Don Mouth”) including the Keating Channel, into a healthier, more naturalized river outlet to the Toronto Inner Harbour and Lake Ontario, while at the same time removing the risk of flooding to over 290 hectares of urban land to the east and south of the river.
Environmental assessment: approved
Date submitted: March 3, 2014
Expiry of public comment period: April 21, 2014
Expiry of public comment period for Ministry Review: August 29, 2014
Decision date: January 28, 2015
Terms of reference: approved
Date submitted: May 5, 2006
Expiry of public comment period: June 5, 2006
Decision date: August 17, 2006
The configuration of the existing Don Mouth was engineered primarily for the purposes of achieving transportation efficiency and to create additional land for port and other urban uses. This has resulted in the current condition with lands vulnerable to flooding, a serious reduction in ecological function of the river mouth, and an area that is neither aesthetically pleasing, nor available for public use and enjoyment.
The naturalization of the Don Mouth will establish a floodplain within the lower reaches of the Don River which will, over the long-term:
- Improve aquatic and terrestrial ecological functions and provide enhanced linkages to upstream habitats;
- Address sediment deposition, debris and ice jams;
- Accommodate changes in precipitation, water flow, and Lake Ontario water levels resulting from climate change;
- Enhance recreation opportunities and local aesthetics;
- Provide natural habitat, pedestrian and bicycle trail linkages between Lake Ontario and the Don watershed; and,
- Manage significant sources of contaminated soil within the Lower Don Lands.
The project is subject to the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act and requires the Ministry’s decision on the Individual EA. Numerous other permits and approvals will also be required under other statutes.
The co-proponents held six rounds of public consultation. Consultation activities were coordinated by the TRCA and included Technical Advisory Committee meetings, Community Liaison Committee meetings, public/stakeholder workshops and events, regular newsletters and website project updates and Aboriginal consultation.
Location of documents for public viewing
The ministry review was available for public and government agency comments from July 28, 2014 to August 29, 2014 during normal hours of operation at the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Waterfront Toronto, TRCA, the City of Toronto clerk’s offices and at the public libraries specified in the Notice of Completion of the Ministry Review.
Terms of reference
Purpose of the study
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) is proceeding with the Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project (DMNP) in cooperation with the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC). This project is a key component of the TWRC's mandate to renew and revitalize Toronto’s waterfront and is funded by the three levels of government (Federal, Provincial and the City of Toronto).
In 2001, the TRCA was identified by the three levels of government as the eligible recipient for funding to naturalize the mouth of the Don River (Don Mouth) and provide flood protection for the entire 440 hectare floodplain surrounding the lower Don River and Keating Channel. This work is being undertaken as two separate projects; the first to remove the risk of flooding to 230 ha of land and to naturalize the Don Mouth (the subject of this EA process), and the second, the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project Class EA to remove the remaining 210 ha of land from risk of flooding. This second EA has already been completed, with construction currently underway.
The configuration of the existing Don Mouth was engineered primarily for the purposes of achieving transportation efficiency and to create additional land for port and other urban uses. This has resulted in the current condition with lands vulnerable to flooding, a serious reduction in ecological function of the river mouth, and an area that is neither aesthetically pleasing nor available for public use and enjoyment. Thus, the problems to be addressed by the project are the lack of ecological function at the river mouth, vulnerability to flood risk, and the derelict nature of this area of the Port Lands.
The Project Study Area consists of two parts: the Don Mouth from the railway bridge to the harbour/lake and lands adjacent to the Lower Don River, and the Don Narrows from the railway bridge north to Riverdale Park. Within the Don Narrows, north of the railway bridge, only improvements within the river channel are to be considered. The Project Study Area is the area in which project components will be constructed and operated and the area in which alternatives are proposed. Therefore, it is in this area that the majority of the direct effects will occur.
The Project Study Area is constrained by fixed infrastructure such as roads and rail lines, the result of the Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project, and opportunities for reuse of the land as identified by other planning studies and initiatives. The lands east of Parliament Street and south of Lakeshore Blvd., and the small quay at the entrance to the Keating Channel have been included to ensure that there is sufficient area to look at options for the Don Mouth. A 300 metre wide corridor immediately west of and parallel to the Don Roadway, which includes the area for the proposed Don Greenway, connects the Keating Channel to the Ship Channel to address previously identified alignments for the Don River. As the consideration of alternatives and environmental effects proceeds during the EA and as opportunities are identified to cooperate with other planning initiatives, adjustments may be made to the Study Area.