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The Case for Flood Protection
Today, approximately 290 hectares of urban land east and south of the Don River are subject to flood risk. The Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project (DMNP), a precedent-setting undertaking aimed at revitalizing the mouth of the Don River, is currently underway and will ultimately transform the existing mouth of the Don into a healthier, more naturalized river outlet while simultaneously providing critical flood protection to Toronto’s eastern waterfront.
Following implementation of the DMNP, approximately 8 hectares of urban land bounded by the Don River to the west, Eastern Avenue to the north, and the Metrolinx railway embankment to the south will remain vulnerable to flooding under what is known as a regional storm (a storm of the same magnitude as Hurricane Hazel).
Currently mixed-use and generally underutilized, this flood-vulnerable area consists primarily of commercial and industrial lands with some residential properties to the north. However, the area is also the focus of a number of key city planning and infrastructure initiatives, including the Unilever Precinct Planning Study as well as the Port Lands and South of Eastern Transportation and Servicing Master Plan Environmental Assessment (TSMP).
As part of the future transit hub also planned for the area, the construction of the East Harbour SmartTrack and TTC Relief Line stations as well as the Broadview Avenue Extension will serve to support the planned regeneration and renewal of the Port Lands and South of Eastern area.
During a regional storm event, flood waters from the Don River would inundate this 8 hectare area and “spill” eastward through the railway grade separation at Eastern Avenue and into the Riverside Community. The depth and spatial extent of flooding would be further complicated under future land use scenarios planned for the area, such as the Broadview Avenue Extension, which would enhance flood risk to the proposed Unilever Precinct and existing south Riverdale Community due to the creation of an additional flood pathway through the new railway grade separation.
Preliminary analysis completed by the TRCA indicates that a flood protection measure located on the east side of the Don River between Eastern Avenue and the railway embankment may potentially remove the remaining flood risk following full implementation of the DMNP EA, without significantly increasing flood risk upstream or to the west of the river.
However, current land uses as well as geotechnical and infrastructure conditions pose a significant challenge to the implementation of a flood protection structure in this area, which will also need to factor into and integrate with parallel development projects.
The BEFP EA will seek to identify an adaptable flood protection solution that will eliminate the risk of flooding currently posed to the area and integrate effectively with current and future planning initiatives.
Click Here to Learn More About the DMNP EA
The primary goal of the BEFP is to identify a flood protection solution that will remove the remaining flood risk to the lands east of the Don River and north of the elevated railway embankment following full implementation of the DMNP. Specifically, by providing a flood protection solution the BEFP will:
1.Address flood risk up to and including the regional storm for the 8 hectare area of land;
2.Not increase flood risk elsewhere; and
3.Integrate with concurrent planning and infrastructure plans in the area.