Thursday, October 25, 2007

Road Takes Precedence Over Creek

Retaining wall construction on St. Clair Ave. East, just west of Birchmount

At the corner of St. Clair Avenue East and Birchmount Avenue, Taylor-Massey Creek flows west from the grounds of the Pine Hills Cemetery to St. Clair Ravine Park. Last week I was visiting as part of a planting event and decided to take a look at the creek. Along this section, the creek hugs the north edge of St. Clair. Just east of Birchmount it is encased in a gabion basket channel. The same thing lined the creek west of Birchmount but a couple of years ago the wall failed and the sidewalk started to subside into the creek.

Last year they erected some buttressing and I thought that was the end of it. But this year they are doing some more work. They have channelled the river into a culvert and have removed the steel girder buttresses. In its place they are building what looks to be a substantial retaining wall. I doubt that the result will be any more habitat friendly than the old wall but at least it should last for awhile.

Temporary steel buttressing erected in 2006, now removed

This is just another example where urban infrastructure takes precedence over natural function. At least the creek will be exposed rather than encased in a storm sewer which has been the fate of many downtown creeks (See for the whole sad story).

Taylor-Massey Creek relegated to a temporary culvert

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