Friday, June 17, 2022

City of Toronto to Explore the Feasibility of Undertaking an Assessment of the Restoration Opportunities of Historical Watercourses

 Yesterday Toronto City Council adopted a motion to explore the feasibility of undertaking an assessment of historical watercourses.

The motion was made as it related to an item from the Planning and Housing Committee that updated the Toronto Official Plan to include a new section on historical watercourses as follows:

 Historical Watercourses 

Urbanization has resulted in extensive creek burial and diversion of water flows into sewers leading to extensive changes to natural drainage patterns, and hydrological and ecological functions. The loss of natural creeks in Toronto began in the 18th century and accelerated with increased development during the 19th and 20th centuries. These buried or lost features are referred to as historical water courses. Extensive and well documented mapping work has been done to identify the location of historical water courses in Toronto, mainly by community organizations such as the Toronto Green Community's Lost Rivers group. Restoration or daylighting historical watercourses is associated with positive outcomes such as restored hydrological or ecological functions and community engagement. Opportunities to restore or daylight historical watercourses on public parklands or as part of comprehensive redevelopment should be considered where there is an opportunity and it is technically feasible.

The full report and the motion can be seen here:

The motion moved by Councillor Gord Perks and adopted by Council reads as follows:

1 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Gord Perks (Carried)

That City Council request the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, the General Manger, Toronto Water, and the General Manager, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, in consultation with the General Manager, Transportation Services and the Chief Executive Director, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, to explore the feasibility of undertaking an assessment of historical watercourses restoration opportunities and report back on the resources required in the third quarter of 2023.

This is good news for all the lost creeks in the City of Toronto, including the ones I have specifically documented in the old City of Etobicoke. 

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