As Lake Ontario water levels currently sit 12 cm above those recorded at the same time last year, the City said it’s going to begin “accelerated” flood and erosion control at Toronto Island Park and several waterfront locations in anticipation for levels to reach record highs once again.
On Tuesday, the City said it will work closely with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to monitor the conditions that contribute to high lake water levels and shoreline flooding as spring approaches.
In turn, the City will begin work to mitigate the impacts of high water levels. This includes the construction of a berm, or a raised barrier, on Algonquin Island (a small section of the Islands) using “repurposed brick rubble sourced from demolition projects,” and the construction of another barrier along Ward’s Island beach.
The City says that it will also be conducting a geotechnical assessment of the feasibility of raising the roadway for a few hundred metres along both Cibola Avenue and Lakeshore Avenue.
Additionally, the City says there are plans to construct a natural barrier to keep back rising waters in the eastern beaches and make drainage improvements to the off-leash area along the shoreline of Cherry Beach.
“The growing climate crisis has been acutely felt on the Toronto Islands and along our waterfront, and more record high water levels are anticipated again this year,” said Councillor Joe Cressy, Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York.
“As I’ve said before, an annual sandbagging effort cannot be a long-term solution.”
Cressy added the City has been working year-round with the TRCA to ensure that proactive flood mitigation measures are in place and that significant investments are made to ensure the city’s waterfront and Toronto Islands are protected.
In 2019, the federal government announced $11.9 million in funding for repair and enhancement projects through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, with the City contributing more than $17.9 million.
To date, the City says three projects have been completed as part of this work at Bluffers Park, Colonel Samuel Smith Park, and Humber Bay Shores, and another four are expected to be completed at Bluffers Park, Sunnyside Park, Ashbridges Bay Park, and Palace Pier in 2020.