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Peter Street Wetland

tzv

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Hi,

I have a meeting with Waterfront Toronto this afternoon to talk about building a wetland in the Peter Street Basin, east of Spadina on Queen's Quay. I think it would compliment their sustainability initiatives quite nicely and it would act as a catalyst to spur investment in the public space around the wetland. There are two residential towers as well as small office space and vacant commercial fronting the wetland.

The site is currently owned and operated by the Parks Department and this quote from the City should summarize it: "The public space in the basin has been underused and, combined with issues of poor water circulation (it's a garbage collector) in the basin, necessitate a closer look at the design of this area. The programming of this space will be key to the redevelopment of this area.â€

The area has gone through a transformation in the past ten years, but this site remains a relic of the old Queen's Quay. I think this project has terrific potential as a landmark along the waterfront, a node for attracting people.
As part of the proposal I am interested in looking at waste water (grey water) collection from the rooftops and potentially the Gadiner, as methods of diverting water from the sewer system.

I would appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks!

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Wonderful idea for a proposal! You should run for mayor in 2022.
 
What to do? What to do? A relic of the new, improved, realigned Quay of about 20 years ago, I've rarely seen anyone down there. In the antique centre's declining years, before it moved to King Street, vendors used to set out tables around the basin on Sundays - but that didn't attract the public much either. It reminds me of the sunken water feature at Roy Thomson Hall that's frustratingly out of bounds, even to concertgoers, in the nice weather.

If the Basin connected to the waterfront promenade, via a walkway beneath the Quay, it might make a charming little detour - there's something very attractive about walking under bridges next to water.

p.s. Your images don't show for me.
 
If the Basin connected to the waterfront promenade, via a walkway beneath the Quay, it might make a charming little detour - there's something very attractive about walking under bridges next to water.

But it does! I'll admit it's not the most pleasant connection (vertical clearance is approximately 6'5" at its highest point), but it connects nonetheless.
 
It's a dead area right now for sure...but...I'm not sure urban swamp is the right direction either.
 
I believe in West 8's competition design for the Central Waterfront, that giant maple leaf they proposed for the middle of Toronto Harbour was supposed to be an artificial wetland of some sort (on the model I saw of their design the maple leaf was filled in with various green blotches). I wonder if there are any details floating out there as to what they specified for the maple leaf.
 
Certainly this basin needs to be fixed but I'm not sure about a wetland. There needs to be something to prevent garbage from floating in for sure. The various elements of pedestrian environment don't line up in that the walkway under the bridge is not accessible by ramp on the south side and on the north the level of the walkway around the basin is below street level yet the walkway under the bridge which is even lower is accessed only by stairs from the road level.

What I would like to see is gentle ramps on both sides from the walkway around the basin to the walkway under the bridge, a water element which draws water from a pipe south of the bridge so there is a constant outflow under the bridge to keep the garbage out, and to move the kayak facilities to floating docks inside this basin.
 
The access from the south side of Queen's Quay needs to be improved and made more obvious and if the Basin is to remain water-filled there certainly does need to be a way to have more water flow (and/or cleaning) so that garbage does not build up there. Though the water level was quite high this year, in 2008 it was low and the basin looked rather shallow - how deep is it? If it is partially filled in and turned into a wetland it will still be necessary to keep it clean - as far as I know most cleaning of the Spadina wetland is done by local residents.

Moving the kayaks to the Basin is an interesting idea, is there room?
 
It's a dead area right now for sure...but...I'm not sure urban swamp is the right direction either.

I don't think a swamp would be a good choice either, but given the success of the Spadina Quay wetland and the importance of water quality I think it is an interesting option to investigate.

The following is on the City of Toronto website:

"The public space in the basin has been underused and, combined with issues of poor water circulation (it's a garbage collector) in the basin, necessitate a closer look at the design of this area. The programming of this space will be key to the redevelopment of this area."
 
I always thought that little bit of water was an interesting idea, one that might have looked appealing in renderings, and that had I lived in Toronto then and been paying attention to such things, I might have eagerly anticipated the development around it. I've stood and looked at the result, though, and have never really had any good ideas about how to fix it, though clearly it does need fixing.

I'm at a loss as to what to do. It's hard enough to get people to the north side of Queens Quay, let along to get them around this basin. Whatever it is that goes in there, it better be quite the draw. I love wetlands, in the city and in nature, but I'm not sure that would fix much.
 

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