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Port Union Environmental Study

[as approved May 2, 2001 by Order In Council]

The following are excerpts from the above captioned report completed by the Provincial Ministry of the Environment May 2, 2001 completed under the Provincial Minister of the Environment as permitted under an agreement from the Federal Government and subject to the continuing provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (Federal jurisdiction) as administered by the Federal Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister, the Federal Fish Habitat Management Board, Environment Canada and its Minister and the Canadian Coast Guard [under Fisheries and Oceans] which covers all navigable waterways including the navigable portions of the mouths of all rivers as under the Act and impact thereon at 100 feet above the high water (tide) mark. This includes the respective mouths of the Rouge and Highland Creek rivers.

Re: An Environmental Assessment for the Port Union Waterfront Improvement Project Highland Creek to the       Rouge River.

Take Notice: I received three submissions before the expiration date. [One of which was from the NANCY-GRIFFON FOUNDATION regarding their proposal called King’s Harbour Marine Park for the restoration/regeneration of the olde village harbour and to permit the replacement of the navigable portion of the mouth of the Rouge River filled in by the Grand Trunk Railway by means of re-opening the Adams Creek into a navigable bay of water for said King’s Harbour Marine Park].


My reasons for giving approval are: [as extracted]

  1. That the advantages of this undertaking outweigh its disadvantages [within the bounds as permitted by the Federal Ministry].
  2. No other beneficial alternative [highest and best use] method of implementation was identified.
  3. That the operation and maintenance of the undertaking be consistent with the purposes of the Act.
  4. The Government review team [as permitted by the Act] has indicated no outstanding concerns that can not be addressed through conditions of approval or further approvals [as] required [under the Act].
  5. I [the Provincial Minister] am not aware of any outstanding issues with respect to this undertaking which suggests that a hearing should be required. [The Foundation in its submission had the original submission by the TRCA amended to permit “further approvals and “significant and major modifications” as under Section 7.8 below to ensure that leeway was in place to build King’s Harbour].


4.0   This section is fairly standard and deals with Definitions and some further clarifications and a very specific reminder that whatever the Province decides, its decisions and actions and those made by Provincial authorities including the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority are subject and always will be subject to the Act and to the Federal Minister and the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans.

7.0 [And here we begin to see what will happen in the future] The Project will be implemented in two phases over  5 to 10 years as outlined in Chapter 8.2 These modifications [inclusive of provisions under Section 7.8] will not alter the main Plan components for the waterfront. [In addition] There are a number of reasons modifications [large and small] may be required. [Deals with timing, funding and additional assessment approvals to allow various extensions].

7.1 [Deals with the standard host of minor modifications to the plan and that] Such modifications may originate from a refinement to the original Concept Plan and the undertaking of the project during the detailed design stage or from later proposed modifications. [Refer 7.4 and 7.8 as below]

7.4 Any persons may request the Proponent [TRCA who will administer the land once formed] to process a proposed modification under the process set out for significant or major modification in conditions. [deals with the standard environmental process of plan amendment and public hearings].

SIGNIFICANT AND MAJOR MODIFICATIONS    [a natural extension to the above]

7.8 A significant or major modification to the Concept Plan and the undertaking is a modification which has an influence on the local environment and where the environment effects that will cause or that might reasonably be expected to caused to the environment taking into account mitigation and remedial actions [regeneration and revitalization] and the advantages to the environment of the undertaking. [*]

Again the balance of this section deals with the standard review and implementation process by the proponent. [TRCA and interested parties thereto].

8.0 [This section is of particular interest to all parties in that it deals with parking for vehicles and the flow of vehicular traffic. Keeping in mind that more than adequate parking is allowed by the greatly expanded GO station and the elimination of much of this traffic by the GO and metro transportation. In addition, with Lawrence and Port Union now four lane metro arterials much of the traffic is routed out of the affected neighbourhoods] Before proceeding with the undertaking, TRCA shall provide to the satisfaction of the City of Toronto a statement as to how automobile parking demand anticipated to be generated by the waterfront improvement will be satisfied…after each of the…implementation phases of the undertaking.

10.0 The Proponent shall advise the Director in writing how it has complied with the environmental assessment and these [following] conditions:

  1. immediately prior to commencing construction of the first phase of the undertaking as outlined in the environmental assessment;
  2. immediately prior to commencing construction of the second phase of the undertaking as outlined in the environmental assessment;
  3. upon completion of the construction of the [first] phase of the undertaking; and
  4. upon the completion of the construction of the [second] phase and any other activity required to complete the undertaking [including any significant and major modifications].

Dated the 2nd day of May, 2001 at TORONTO.

                                                         Signed: Elizabeth Witmer                                                             Minister of the Environment.


    The reader having viewed the above should note that this document is rather lengthy as environmental reviews are, and if they should wish to see the full text are welcome to contact the TRCA or the Ministry of the Environment.

    In addition the reader should note that Bluffers Park started as a shoreline abatement exercise and was never intended in the initial environmental study to be what it eventually became, a 50 acre park with four marinas with private memberships essentially blocking off much of the waterfront access. The land was never there and was a total fabrication. Its is condemned by the Toronto fire department as a fire trap, and on occasion the access road built through a 1950 garbage dump filled with plastic garbage bags has been known to collapse. [Twice to date].

    Consider this then, the olde Port Union harbour facility is being regenerated to restore both the land that was there in 1832 and had been there since the Wisconcian glacier put it there 10 thousand years ago, but the sailing harbour will replace the open mouth of the Rouge River which was filled in during the 1860 by the Grand Trunk Railroad. Its original proposal provided for multiple bridge spans to protect the existing water way and the harbour. However Toronto merchants wanted to do away with small merchant centers and bring it all to Toronto.

      With the change of David Crombie’s Waterfront Regeneration Trust [who by the way supported us] to Robert Fung’s Waterfront Revitalization Committee with essentially the same mandate, they out of the goodness of their heart want $17 billion for the “Toronto” waterfront, while Etobicoke and Scarborough share $25 million for their. [That’s less than a fifth of one percent]. I don’t think so. Toronto is about to eat our lunch again.

       Lastly, consider that above and the mysterious second phase at Port Union. We’ve seen it before at Bluffers. It will happen again and this time it will be based on historical records and the provisions with the environmental study.

        Having said this and providing the key sections of the Environmental Assessment, I ask you to consider it and the supportive comments by the Federal Minister of  Fisheries and Oceans in his support for the Project and the return of the King’s Harbour. This harbour will also provide for the total restoration of the original fish habitat [1832] and will be 8 times better in terms of shoreline habitat that the original TRCA submission.

        We at the Foundation have been working on your behalf for last 25 years and have provided this web site as your voice for the return of “a marvelous new amenity”.

Thank you

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