As the weather gets colder, you may not be thinking about the waterfront, but the Region of Peel has big plans for its share of the Lake Ontario shoreline. A degraded and inaccessible section of the shore will be transformed into a beautiful, naturalized conservation area. The space is slated to become a hotspot for wildlife migration and a green oasis in the heart of the city.
On October 22, Peel Regional Council voiced their continued support for the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project and endorsed moving forward to implementation. The project is a joint undertaking of the Region of Peel, Credit Valley Conservation and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to add green space where it is significantly lacking. Mississauga’s Lakeview community once boasted significant natural areas and several wetlands, which have since been lost to urbanization.
“This is a wonderful day for the environment, our community, the city and the Region of Peel,” said Jim Tovey, Peel Regional Councillor representing Mississauga’s Ward 1. “Today’s Council decision demonstrates a strong commitment to restoring our natural environment and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.” Tovey, who has been a staunch advocate for change along the waterfront, has led the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project since its inception.
The project is scheduled to take seven to ten years to complete. It will yield a publicly accessible conservation area roughly 48 football fields in size with 1.5 kilometres of new shoreline, stretching from the old Lakeview generating station to the Toronto border at Marie Curtis Park. The Waterfront Trail will be rerouted along the newly created shoreline, instead of its current inland path near Lakeshore Boulevard.
“A naturalization project of this scale will transform our urban environment and contribute to a healthier Great Lakes ecosystem.” said Andrew Farr, Director of Water for the Region of Peel. “We’re learning more about the connection between environmental health and human health each day. Access to natural spaces leads to a better quality of life for families and youth, and that’s exactly what the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project will do.”
The new conservation area will be created using only clean fill from construction projects to build a new, healthier waterfront, revitalizing a degraded shoreline. Currently, this area has some of the lowest numbers and species of fish along the entire Mississauga lakefront. There is little food, shelter or connected corridors to support the life requirements of plants and animals. The western Lake Ontario shoreline is a key stopover area for migrating birds, bats and insects.
“This project demonstrates what is possible with a strong vision and a collaborative partnership focused on improving our local environment,” said Deborah Martin-Downs, Chief Administrative Officer for Credit Valley Conservation. “The environmental benefits will extend beyond the local area into Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes ecosystem.”
Construction of an access road that will allow clean fill to be transported to the site is scheduled to begin this winter. Construction of the conservation area itself is scheduled to begin in mid-2016. The project received environmental assessment approval on May 27 2015, after a comprehensive community consultation process. The Lakeview Waterfront Connection is supported by the cities of Mississauga and Toronto and is in keeping with the sustainable principles of the Inspiration Lakeview Master Plan.
More information on the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project is available at http://lakeviewwaterfrontconnection.ca.