City to undertake 'accelerated' flood protection work on Toronto Islands ahead of record water levels expected this spring
Sandbags keep water from flooding the land more as the Toronto Islands are threatened by rising water levels in the spring of 2017. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, February 25, 2020 12:12PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 25, 2020 12:14PM EST
The city says that it will undertake “accelerated flood and erosion control work” on the Toronto Islands in anticipation of Lake Ontario water levels reaching record highs once again.
In a news release issued on Tuesday morning, the city said that water levels in Lake Ontario are already 12 centimetres above where they were at this time last year and are likely to eventually break the record 76-metres above sea level mark that was recorded last May.
The city says that the accelerated flood protection work is being undertaken in partnership with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) with the goal of “mitigating the impacts of high lake water levels and shoreline flooding” this spring.
The work will include the construction of a berm on Algonquin Island 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.
Elsewhere, there are also 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.
"Long-term climate change resilience and adaptation measures are essential work for Toronto Island Park and our waterfront,” Ward 10 Coun. Joe Cressy said in the press release. “We know that sandbagging alone cannot be the solution, and I'm pleased to see the proactive work being undertaken with our partners the TRCA."
In 2017, flooding caused millions of dollars in damage to the Toronto Islands and forced the city to close the destination to non-residents for nearly three months.
While water levels were higher in 2019, the city said that the proactive measures it undertook in the wake of the 2017 flooding “were effective in reducing flooding impacts,” allowing for the islands to remain open.
This spring, the city says that it will “continue to supply sand to island residents for sandbagging” and “and provide and service generators and pumps.”