News Release
October 30, 2020

Today, Mayor John Tory, Councillor James Pasternak (Ward York Centre), Infrastructure and Environment Committee Chair and TRCA Board Member; and Councillor Frances Nunziata (Ward York-South Weston) joined the Government of Canada to announce a commitment of a $19 million investment in reducing the impact of severe storms and flooding in Toronto’s Rockcliffe-Smythe neighbourhood. Representing the Federal government at the announcement was the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Member of Parliament for York South – Weston.

The federal government’s funding commitment is being made through its Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) for Jane Street crossing improvements to mitigate Black Creek flooding in the area. The City of Toronto is contributing $28.5 million to the remaining costs of the project.

The Jane Street crossing improvement project involves expanding the Jane Street crossing over Black Creek. The existing crossing is undersized and results in flooding of Black Creek during extreme events. The project will reduce flooding in the Rockcliffe-Smythe neighbourhood by reconstructing the existing crossing to allow for increased conveyance capacity of Black Creek flood waters underneath. It is a critical component of a broader flood mitigation strategy for the area.

While the Jane Street crossing upgrade will provide some flood relief, it will enable the implementation of additional flood mitigation measures, such as river widening and larger crossings, which will protect the area from flooding. These changes are needed so the river can be widened to reduce water levels within the river system. Once that is done, basement flooding protection work in the area can be effective.

In recent years, the Rockcliffe-Smythe community, near Jane Street and Eglinton Avenue West, has been affected by heavy rains – the area has suffered from flooding during heavy downpours and flash floods. During heavy rain, the sewer systems and overland drainage routes, such as roads, local rivers and streams can become overloaded, which has led to basement flooding.

In response, the City has been working in collaboration with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Each has completed environmental studies of the area seeking options to reduce sewer system, overland and riverine flooding.

Construction of flood mitigation measures is expected to begin after 2024. An updated Environmental Assessment will begin this fall.

Quotes:

“I want to thank the Government of Canada, Minister McKenna and Minister Hussen for coming forward with this funding which will impact the lives of many residents and business owners in the Rockcliffe Community. Over the past few years we have seen the devastating impacts flooding can have on residents and their homes. We are committed to finding ways to protect residents and their businesses during heavy rainfall and changing weather. Thanks to this $19 million funding through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund we can expedite the work necessary to help us resolve this ongoing issue.”

– Mayor John Tory

“With severe weather events on the rise, it is imperative that we invest now in infrastructure that protects Canadians, their homes, and their businesses. Every dollar invested in upgrades to the Jane Street Bridge will protect Toronto residents and save future costs by reducing the impact of local flooding. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

– The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“As in many regions across Canada, Toronto and the Rockcliffe community are experiencing the impacts of climate change. The investments in the Jane Street Bridge expansion will minimize the costly effects of severe weather events and ensure residents’ homes and businesses are protected for generations to come.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

”Just one year ago, Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency and accelerate efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The generous funding that the Government of Canada is announcing today for the Jane Street crossing improvement will help us increase the resilience of the Rockcliffe-Smythe community and help spare it from the effects of extreme weather and associated flooding.”

– Councillor James Pasternak (Ward York Centre), Infrastructure and Environment Committee Chair and TRCA Board Member

“In recent years, the residents and businesses of the Rockcliffe-Smythe area have experienced a great deal of flooding and the stress, damage and cleanup that comes with that. I have been working with City staff and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to accelerate strategies to mitigate flooding in this neighbourhood. Today’s announcement is a first step towards welcome flooding relief for this community.”

– Councillor Frances Nunziata (Ward York South-Weston)

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