Porkers hit dry ground on lake tunnel scheme

City staff spurn TPA’s dream of dumping tunnel-dig waste back into the lake water.

By Brian Iler –

City of Toronto staff have slammed the Toronto Port Authority’s (TPA) proposal to fill in part of Toronto’s harbour.

The report is in response to an environmental assessment screening carried out by the TPA (but not yet posted on the TPA’s website).

Points raised in the report include these:

•    Parks, Forestry, and Recreation staff have “strong objections” to the proposed lake filling project due to the potential impact on navigable water around the Inner Harbour and Hanlan’s Point.

•    Toronto’s Official Plan permits “minor lake filling” only for these specified purposes:

o    Stabilizing slope and shoreline;

o    Creating or enhancing aquatic habitat;

o    Naturalizing the shoreline;

o    Improving water quality; or

o    Where appropriate, providing public access to the water’s edge.”

None of these purposes apply to this major project.

•    The TPA has failed to consider the impact the fill might have on a City water main, buried below the harbour at the proposed fill site.

•    A Navigation Risk Assessment is required to determine whether the lake filling project has the potential to negatively affect the operation of the City’s ferry
services and other vessels operating in the Inner Harbour.

•    The TPA’s proposal to dump its dirt at night, when the Island Airport is not operating, will result in potential noise impacts on the Island Yacht Club and the residential communities along the Queens Quay.

The TPA is cagey about the proposed source of the dirt it plans to dump   likely from its $82.5 million pedestrian tunnel construction project.
Its stated rationale for this project, (“to improve the safe operation of the (Island) Airport as it would create shallower waters to deter marine vessels from
penetrating the Obstacle Limitation Surface of the runway”) has turned out to be entirely flimsy – it has yet to produce any evidence that a such a problem exists.

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