Sunday, June 18, 2006

Report on the Burke Brook EA

Burke Brook as it flows out of culvert on east side of Bayview. This is the site of the proposed fish ladder.

The Environmental Assessment process launched with an open house on June 13. The plan is to look at restoring fish habitat in the open portion of Burke Brook that stretches west from the Don River and flows through a narrow and deep ravine just south of Sunnybrook Hospital, underneath Bayview and up through Sherwood Park towards Yonge and Lawrence.

The city is looking at building a fish ladder to allow them to progress upstream from Bayview as there is a series of steep drops from an outlet pipe that they can't get past.

While this project has some merit, it appears to neglect the basic fact that there are no fish in Burke Brook that will use the ladder. Local naturalists pointed out at the meeting that there is an outlet pipe in the ravine east of Bayview coming directly from underneath the hospital that often has a strong disinfectant smell. It is likely that any chemicals in this outflow are making the water too toxic for aquatic life. Until the effluent issue is addressed the fish ladder proposal will be a waste of money.

The initial study looked at stream morphology, bank stability, and erosion issues but failed to look into water quality issues. Toronto Water, the lead department in this EA should really know better. Surely their experience with the pollution study on Taylor-Massey Creek in 2005 would give them some clues as to the state of Toronto's urban creeks - it boggles the mind.

The city did say that perhaps the water quality issue should be addressed before proceeding. The EA will continue with another meeting, to be determined. If you are interested in getting on the contact list, send an email to Josie Giordano.


Anonymous said...

Has there been any fish studies or benthic monitoring done for the assessment? This, along with water quality data should definetly be done before proceeding.

thanks John

Donwatcher said...

Hi Steve,

I think they just assumed there are fish in Burke Brook. I've certainly seen no evidence. I think they got the message that "Build it and they will come" won't work in this situation. So I am hoping that by the next phase they will have done some organism testing.