High Water Levels Threaten Waterfront

                                                                                                                    Photo: braziliandanny/imgur

There’s too much water in the Great Lakes—and with Lake Ontario being the lowest in elevation, it receives so much from the others that it has flooded coastlines and developments. It is challenging to restrict the flow of water from rivers, rain and spring run-off, but Lake Ontario levels have been successfully regulated in the past by the Moses-Saunders dam at Cornwall.

The Toronto Islands and numerous downtown buildings in Toronto have suffered millions of dollars in damage from flooding, especially in 2017 and 2019. Experts are concerned that unprecedented water levels are part of climate change and not a seasonal or passing problem. If so, more attention and new solutions are needed urgently, because an additional foot of water in the spring could top the already high levels at our doorstep. To learn more, YQNA put flooding first on the agenda in the November 19, 2019 meeting.

If lake levels can be controlled, who is in charge? Canada and America negotiated the Boundary Waters Treaty act in 1909, and the International Joint Commission (IJC) was established with three representatives from each country looking after this precious freshwater resource. In 1956, the IJC approved building of the Moses-Saunders Dam and the St. Lawrence Seaway, and release of water through the dam regulated water levels successfully for decades. Later, lobbying from various interest groups led to a new IJC plan for regulating water levels. It was implemented in 2017, and maximum levels gradually rose to a record high of 75.92 m, four feet above the average lake level.

From the detailed information that YQNA has gathered, it seems that IJC urgently needs to get ahead of next year’s forecast. YQNA has appealed for action from IJC and other parties with an active role and has informed major parties who would suffer financial losses in case of widespread flooding. Join the action by forwarding our letter to Councillor Joe Cressy (councillor_cressy@toronto.ca) and Mayor John Tory (mayor_tory@toronto.ca) and others on our list of recipients.

New Flood Studies

Please be informed that three New Basement Flooding Improvements Studies have initiated for the area of “St Clair Ave to the Lake/Jane-Keele St to Don Valley Parkway.”

Kindly direct your members to www.toronto.ca/bf42 to take the initial survey in order to help the City in determining the source of the flooding.  This is a first step to the study process.

A notice and newsletter (contains more information) are being emailed to BIAs and Ratepayer Associations for forwarding to their members.

The analysis includes curbside-survey (catchbasins), sewer modelling and technical analysis. In the coming months, the studies will determine the locations and size of sewer upgrades, underground storage, wet/dry ponds and other solutions to reduce the risk of future flooding. More details and updates are at www.toronto.ca/bfea.

General Information:

1.    The study areas were determined by the underground sewershed (wastewater drainage system).  The drainage (sewer) systems for these three “bundled” Study Areas are: Mid-Town Interceptor, High Level Interceptor and Low Level Interceptor (trunk sewers). Due to the size of this bundle with over 100,000 homes and buildings, and the Ontario Class Environmental Assessment process, the study will take a few years to complete.

2.    Other flood protection initiatives are already underway, e.g. “find and fixes” of sewer infiltrations and leaks.  The City also has a subsidy of $3,400 Basement Flooding Protection Program (BFPP) for homeowners who install flood protection devices.  More information is at www.toronto.ca/basementflooding.

We will provide more details and updates in the coming months.

Learn More About Sidewalk Labs’ Plan

Join Waterfront Toronto’s team at upcoming meetings to learn about the latest Sidewalk Labs proposal for Quayside. Sidewalk Labs has submitted a 1,500-page proposal for 190 acres of the eastern Waterfront⁠, including the original 12-acre Quayside site. Now Waterfront Toronto has distilled that into a shorter document you can read before attending any consultations and information sessions. Also available: a discussion guide, display boards, and feedback forms


PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS

Monday, July 15, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m
North York Civic Centre, Council Chambers (5100 Yonge Street) 
Eventbrite

Wednesday, July 17, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Radisson Admiral Hotel, Admiral Ballroom (249 Queens Quay West) 
Eventbrite

Saturday, July 20, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
George Brown College, Auditorium (51 Dockside Drive) 
Eventbrite

Tuesday, July 23, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 
Chestnut Residence and Conference Centre, Second Floor Ballroom (89 Chestnut Street) 
Eventbrite

* Registration for the event is through Eventbrite. Registration is not required but helps Waterfront Toronto plan the event.


QUAYSIDE INFORMATION SESSIONS WITH THE TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY

Brentwood Library (36 Brentwood Road North): Thursday, July 11, 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
Queen/Saulter Branch (765 Queen Street East): Thursday, July 11, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
St. Lawrence Branch (171 Front Street East): Thursday July 18, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street): Thursday July 25, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 


You can also learn more about the Quayside project at QuaysideTO.ca

New Noise By-law for Toronto


City Council adopted a new Noise By-law with amendments at the April 16 and 17 meeting, 2019.

YQNA has been involved with the by-law review since its inception in 2015. Countless hours have been spent in meetings of the Working Group, in deputing at Committees, and in trying to understand the complexities of sound, how it travels and how it is measured. YQNA joined forces with the Toronto Noise Coalition (TNC), which has members from across the City.

The new by-law is quite short. It has some useful definitions, and regulates 8 kinds of noise, from amplified sound to animals to leaf blowers. It has introduced the use of approved noise meters to be used by MLS staff in checking on sound levels using both the dB(A) and dB(C) scales. While the sound level limits are now more reasonable, the measurement depends on Leq, which is a kind of averaging or smoothing, over a ten minute period, which does not work at all for music. Amplified sound is to be measured at a “point of reception” outdoors or indoors, while noise from a motorcycle is to be measured 50 cm from the tailpipe. Other kinds of noise are just prohibited during certain times, generally from 7 pm to 7 am on week nights and before 9 am on weekends and holidays. Government work, which includes work by the TTC, the Province, the Federal Government and the City, is exempt from the by-law.

The current (old) noise by-law begins with a General Prohibition, which states “No person shall make, cause or permit noise or vibration, at any time, which is likely to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the inhabitants of the City.”

This is removed. It is replaced by “No person shall make, cause or permit noise, at any time, that is unreasonable noise and persistent noise”, where the underlined noises are defined terms. This sounds fine until we read the second part, which states that this provision does not apply to any of the 8 kinds of sound which are dealt with elsewhere in the by-law. Vibration is no longer mentioned, and is only captured somewhat by the dB(C) measurements for amplified sound. This means that activities such as construction or leaf blowing can be noisy during the work day.

The members of TNC are understandably disappointed that after so much work their comments, concerns and suggestions seem to have fallen on deaf ears. The loss of the General Prohibition is of particular concern, because this rule has been used successfully in the past to prosecute noisy clubs and tour boats. A small victory has been the lowering of the dB thresholds from the levels staff had started out with in 2016, but the requirement for by-law officers to actually take measurements at your home is unworkable. By the time they can attend, unless the noise source is a regular, predictable event like a Saturday night dance, the party or concert will long be over.