Public Consultation Unit
55 John Street, 19th Floor
Ont. M7Y 2W1
December 18, 2009
Attention: Josie Franch, Public Consultation Co-ordinator
Re: Etobicoke Stormwater Management Facilities Study–Ward 6
We are responding to the community meeting you held at the Assembly Hall on November 12th 2009 where the public was invited to submit comments on the implementation of stormwater management faculties in South Etobicoke. Your e-mail on November 23rd indicated that preliminary comments would be acceptable into December given the amount of material to absorb.
Friends of Sam Smith Park is a community group of local residents and park users dedicated to protecting, enhancing and preserving Colonel Samuel Smith Park. Our organization has been in existence for over three years and our primary interest is to maintain the park as a nature park. The park houses a diversity of environments that provide food, habitat and protection for the many species of birds, animals and plants that live there. It is popular with birders, wildlife photographers and those who passionately enjoy urban, naturalized areas.
Given that focus, our first response is to indicate that we see this initiative not only as a means of improving water quality for fisheries, water birds and aquatic vegetation but as an opportunity to increase natural habitat in the park. For that reason, we would certainly favour implementation designs that blend in with the natural environment such as wetland, wet pond and/or flow balancing system. The mechanical systems, in our opinion, are inappropriate for Sam Smith Park.
There are a couple of creeks in the park that do not have enough water to support much aquatic life. Jackson Creek is buried and we have watched the flow of water in North Creek reduced to a mere trickle over the years.
We would like to see Jackson Creek daylighted and augmented with increased flow from stormwater. The water would flow into the northern swale (north-east corner of the park), creating a shallow wetland for water treatment, and run under the roadway into the smaller swale from where it could be piped under the gravel path south to the lake or continue as it presently does to Rotary Park.
North Creek flows into the wetland pond through a spruce grove forming a beautiful riparian pathway that attracts migrating songbirds in the spring and fall. Water flow is erratic and insufficient; the pond fed by the creek is frequently below optimal water level. Stormwater could be diverted to supplement the base flow and increase opportunities for aquatic life in the creek.
If a wet pond system is considered, then its location must be carefully chosen. Aside from diminished water flow in North Creek, the TRCA sections of the park seem to function well and would not benefit from too much disturbance. They probably would not be suitable for another pond unless one could be put into the cultivated meadow adjacent and east of the Lakeshore Yacht Club. Other locations north of the bicycle path should be considered.
A flow balancing system might work very well in and around the lake outflow from the wetland pond. We understand that such a system can treat water coming from both directions. The two bays in that area are collectors for algae floating in from the east along the shore and can smell pretty bad in the summer.
Lastly, we would like the City to look at a stormwater consolidation scenario that utilizes more than just one site. If all the stormwater in the South Etobicoke catchment basin flows into Sam Smith Park, then, naturally, a more substantial management system requiring ill-fitting, engineered solutions would be needed. Even though there are exciting opportunities for habitat enhancement in this initiative, as we have described above, the park’s naturalized areas are sensitive and we fear that they might be overwhelmed.
Considering that the Etobicoke project is part of the City’s 25-year wet weather flow master plan, the recommendations and observations we offer here must be considered as merely preliminary in what we hope will be a longer consultation process. It is impossible to understand all the ramifications of each design choice in such a short time without all the questions being answered.
We would be glad to discuss this with you and look forward to the next stage of this initiative.
Acting Chair, Friends of Sam Smith Park
CC Councillor Grimes
Nancy Gaffney, TRCA
Laurel Broten, MPP
Michael Ignatieff, MP