As part of a $1.1 billion bilateral agreement, the Federal and Ontario Provincial governments have announced $99 million funding for 41 projects that will improve clean water and wastewater systems across Ontario. Of the new funding, a combined total of $48.75 million will be earmarked towards a flood protection and naturalization initiative in Toronto's Port Lands.

Celebrating the combined funding gradually becoming available under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF), Toronto Mayor John Tory was joined by Amarjeet Sohi, Canada's Federal Minister of Infrascture and Communities, Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure, and Will Fleissig, CEO of Waterfront Toronto.  

Tory, Chiarelli, Sohi, and Fleissig, image by Jack LandauTory, Chiarelli, Sohi, and Fleissig, image by Jack Landau

In the Port Lands, the funds will be allocated towards the Essroc Quay Lake Filling and Naturalization initiative on the south side of the Keating Channel. The plan will form part of the larger Port Lands Flood Protection Project (PLFP) that will eventually protect over 290 hectares (715 acres) of land southeast of Downtown, which will cost an estimated $1 billion.

Conceptual future vision looking east across Port Lands, image via Waterfront ToConceptual future vision looking east across Port Lands, image via Waterfront Toronto

Subject to City Council approval, Waterfront Toronto will begin work on the Essroc Quay Lake Filling project in mid-2017, creating a new landmass and allowing for a re-alignment of Cherry Street (below). As announced today, the Federal and Provincial governments will respectivelly contribute $32.5 million and $16.25 million to the project, with the City of Toronto slated to match the $16.25 million Provincial contribution, providing $65 million in total funding.

The new landmass is highlighted along with a re-aligned Cherry Street, image viaThe new landmass is highlighted along with a re-aligned Cherry Street, image via Waterfront Toronto

Although the $65 million represents a very small proportion of the capital needed to complete the Port Lands' billion-dollar flood protection initiative, today's funding was hailed as an important early step in the process. Contributing to safer conveyance of storm and flood waters, the Essroc Quay project is a precondition for future stages of Port Lands Flood Protection Project.

A view of the Essroc Quay site, image by Jack LandauA view of the Essroc Quay site, image by Jack Landau

Once complete, the massive flood protection initiative will open the previously industrial Port Lands to new development, while also protecting nearby urban neighbourhoods (including South Riverdale and Leslieville) from flood risk, and creating approximately 13 hectares of new urban wetland.  

Aerial view of the reconceputalized Port Lands, with new wetlands in green, imagAerial view of the reconceputalized Port Lands, with new wetlands in light green, image via Waterfront Toronto

Meanwhile, an additional 40 projects across Ontario will be funded alongside the improvements to Toronto's Essroc Quay and Keating Channel (below). While Toronto's single $48.75 million allocation makes up nearly half of the announced funds, a list of more modest projects to be undertaken across the Province has also been provided. Of the $99 million announced, two-thirds ($66 million) will be provided by the Federal Government, with the remaining portion ($33 million) contributed by the Province. 

The Keating Channel, image by Jack LandauThe Keating Channel, image by Jack Landau

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has agreed to fund up to 50% of the $1.1 billion bilateral commitment for Ontario's CWWF, providing as much as $570 million. The remainder of the funding is set to be split between the Province and municipalities, with Ontario set to invest nearly $270 million. 

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We will keep you updated as more information about Essroc Quay Lake Filling and Naturalization Project becomes available, and the Lower Don Lands Redevelopment continues to take shape. In the meantime, additional information about the area's redevelopment is available in our associated dataBase file, linked below, while a full list of the 41 projects is available here. Want to share your thoughts about today's announcement? Leave a comment in the space below, or add your voice to the ongoing discussion in our Forum.