Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008: Year in Review

2008 saw quite a few projects underway in the Don but no major milestones occurred. There were quite a few little things that happened but most of the major projects just continued on. This was expected since the big things take many years. Last January I posted a list of what was in store for 2008. Let's run down that list and see where things stand.

West Don Lands Berm. As you drive up the DVP from the Gardiner glance to your left and you might notice a slowly rising mound of earth. Indeed this project has gotten underway. It appeared that not much was happening for almost a year but there was some serious groundwork to do before they could begin building the berm. This involved relocating and/or rebuilding sewers, gas, and electrical utility underground conduits. Work needed to be done to ensure they could withstand the extra weight of the berm on top of them.

The berm project looking southwest from the Queen St. East bridge over the Don River.

Don Mouth EA. There was a well attended public meeting on March 29, 2008 to present options for this project. The project is currently in its last stages. A preferred alternative was to be presented this fall but it looks like this will be postponed to early 2009. I heard some disappointing news though. The TRCA is responsible for the completion of the environmental assessment but it is Waterfront Toronto who is responsible for the implementation. They've indicated that their priorities are currently elsewhere, namely the east bay precinct plan. So it looks like there won't be any action on the mouth of the Don until at least 2014.

Evergreen Brick Works. Evergreen had their official ground breaking ceremony in early December. There is some prep work going on but major construction won't happen until early 2009. They've only raised about 60% of their financing goal so they are currently looking at a phased implementation.

Crothers' Woods. This past summer saw some major trail improvements. Not only did several community trail builds occur but the city also hired a contractor to blaze some new trails. I helped out on some of these builds so I know first hand how much hard work went into this project.

Stormwater Cistern underneath the DVP. A meeting was held in July to kick this project off but not much has been publicly apparent since. This doesn't mean that nothing is happening. In fact there is a lot of studies underway. In addition to the stormwater containment issue there is also a proposal to replace an aging sewer line that runs underneath Coxwell Avenue. This sewer line funnels nearly half of Toronto's sewage to the Ashbridge's Bay treatment plant. If this pipe fails we'd be in deep shit and that's no pun!

Other things worth mentioning.

Snow dumps in the Don. There are two snowdumps in the Don. We've been pressing the city for years to close one of them down but it is still technically on the books as active. However you may recall that last winter, Toronto received a near record amount of snowfall. A lot of that was piled at the snowdump just north of the Bloor viaduct but the Pottery Road site wasn't used. So we are heartened by this fact and we remain optimistic that this site can be returned to a more natural use sometime in the near future.

Looks like dirt but it's just grubby snow. This photo was taken late February, 2008 from the Bloor viaduct.

DVP Stormwater Remediation. The city surprised us this year by starting a Class EA on this project. This project has been sitting on the shelf since 1993 when a study was done by Paul Theil Associates Ltd. After a couple of false starts they have done a fairly good job on this project. Their proposal includes creation of a stormwater management pond in the middle of a DVP on ramp adjacent to Todmorden Mills. This project should wrap up soon. No word on when it will be implemented.

Taylor Creek Wetland. The Don got a new wetland this year. This has been under development for over a year but it finally went in this fall. Expect to see all sorts of planting events around here in the spring.

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