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At last Thursday’s presentation on the Etobicoke Stormwater Management project, the community was introduced to the South Etobicoke element of the City’s 25-year plan called the Wet Weather Flow Master Plan.
There are 30 storm water outlets along the Etobicoke shoreline that carry untreated rain runoff to the lake. (In South Etobicoke, sewer and stormwater pipes are, fortunately, not connected as they are in some other parts of the city.) The City wants to build end-of-pipe systems that would collect oil, dirt, grit and pollutants from this runoff before it is discharged in to the lake. These systems would be designed to treat 90% of rainfall events up to 25 mm. The goal is to provide shoreline water that is cleaner for swimming and for wildlife.
There are a number of different systems that could be used and a number of different locations or combinations of locations that could be chosen.
Sam Smith Park is definitely on the list. There is an existing outlet in the marina just east of the clubhouse that has a floating barrier – this outlet already carries most of the runoff from a large catchment basin further north, up to the QEW. (We were told that this basin would not be increased).
The photograph on this post shows the park with different system designs that could be employed at Sam Smith at the bottom with a checkmark. The footprint of each design is to scale with the map of the park. For a detailed explanation of each of these management methods for end-of-pipe control along with all the other presentation material, go to the City’s project website.
There were many questions that would certainly impact the park and couldn’t be answered by the consultants or City staff at this time …
- Will there be just one enormous consolidation site chosen for all the runoff or will the flow be spread out over a number of sites?
- What are the constraints for the different systems on a park specific basis (i.e. if a wet pond solution was chosen, where are the workable locations in Sam Smith?)
- What weight will be given to such selection criteria as habitat protection, cost, technical considerations etc?
Staff asked for public input via a comment form they handed out. They explained that this would be the only opportunity for the public to add input. The form can be found on the City's project page where it can be printed and mailed. The address where it should be mailed is at the bottom of the second page. Alternatively, there is an e-mail address and phone number there as well. According to the City's handout, comments need to be in by November 26th. They are hoping for site(s) and design choice to be completed by February 2010! In the opinion of most people at the meeting, this is far too early for the public to digest all the possible alternatives without a full, site-specific explanation of all the implications. This fact should definitely be expressed in any communication with the project team.
Terry Smith will replace the vacationing Allen Valk as FOSS’s representative on the Community Working group associated with this and can be contacted at email@example.com. The next meeting for this group is scheduled for January 2010, just weeks before the announcement of the chosen site(s) and system – seems extremely inadequate.
If Sam Smith is chosen as the sole or the major site, most park users who appreciate the natural elements of the park would probably go for an option that has a possibility of enhancing wildlife habitat, like a wet pond and flow balancing system combination. But, there are possible problems with this. Because of piping, gravity and proximity to the lake constraints, where could they be built? – the north swale is definitely out. What existing habitat would be removed to accommodate them? What would be the maintenance issues? … and so on. There are always concerns when development of any kind is proposed for a special place where every existing square foot is cherished. This is a complicated issue that requires a lot of thought and education.
Posted by Terry Smith