Developers are preparing to redirect the flow of Serson Creek as part of a massive new project called Lakeview Village that is being built on a 177-acre site along Lake Ontario in the southeast part of Mississauga, Ont.
Flows from the creek are presently diverted into pipes under the G.E. Booth Wastewater Treatment Plant and into the lake. Excavators and other heavy equipment will be brought in next spring to dig a new low-flow channel so that the water can be diverted along the east limit of the Lakeview Village lands.
“What we’re doing is constructing a new channel,” says Brian Sutherland, vice-president at Argo Development Corp., one of the developers in Lakeview Community Partners Ltd. which purchased the property. “We’ll cut the channel and design the low-flow landscape, stabilize it and get it all prepared, and when it’s all done and everyone’s ready, we will divert the flows that would’ve gone into the pipe and send it out through the new channel.”
The channel and creek corridor will be a key component of the sprawling, mixed-use development project of 8,000 housing units. The village itself is being built south of Lakeshore Road East and west of the Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area. The site is the former home of the Lakeview Generating Station.
“This will bring Serson Creek out from underneath of the wastewater treatment plant and create an enhanced natural heritage corridor for this creek running down our property and connecting into the Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area and ultimately out-letting into Lake Ontario,” explains Sutherland.
As part of the new channel, buttresses consisting of rocks, vegetations and plantings will be installed along the entire slope of the corridor to provide bank protection and promote flow. The stone provides harder bioengineered protection, but also provides roughness to reduce the velocity flow of the water in the channel. The vegetation will provide additional stability and enhance aquatic habitat by providing shade.
Woody debris bank treatment will be installed on remaining banks not designed with vegetated rock buttress. The treatment consists of the root fan or ball, and a portion of the tree trunk. The bank is then backfilled with stone to provide further protection and stability. The treatment also acts to collect sediment and debris and deflect erosive flows away from the channel bank while providing aquatic habitat.
Piping the creek flow underneath the water treatment plant has caused a lot of issues over the years, Sutherland says. During heavy storm downpours, the plant itself often flooded and occasionally had to shut down. Timing for the work was ideal as hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements are slated for the plant.
“We have been working closely with the region, conservation authority and city in getting a new design done for the creek and advancing construction of the creek so that by the summer of next year we can have that creek out from underneath of the region’s plant and they don’t have to worry about flooding anymore.”
As part of the village project, a temporary haul road was built to allow concrete and material from the demolished power plant on the site to be transported to the adjacent conservation area. The material has been used to help create 64 acres of new land in the conservation area by filling in a section along the waterfront. The conservation area partnered with the developers to take all the concrete from the demolished power plant on the Lakeview property and use it to create a buffer that would hold back the lake.
This past fall, the developer removed the haul road and created the corridor and space for construction of the creek. In spring, a landscaping contractor will begin digging and constructing the new low-flow channel and buffer area.
The land is not contaminated but topsoil will be brought in from offsite as the developer wants to make sure it is up to grade.
“It’s been an incredible endeavour,” says Sutherland. “We took ownership of the site in 2018 and the province and OPG (Ontario Power Generation) had demolished everything on the site above-grade. The power plant was gone, all the buildings, and it was a vacant site. But what was left over where the power plant had been was a very large concrete slab.”
The slab, measuring 11-acres, contained about 30,000 tonnes of concrete. Underneath was a significant amount of subsurface foundations and concrete and infrastructure and 10-foot-diameter pipes. The developer spent three years demolishing the subsurface infrastructure and separating materials.
The developer plans to have the creek bed completed and the flow diverted into the new channel by next July.
“We’re working on a fairly aggressive schedule and working with our partners, not only recognizing the importance of this project to the region, but also to ourselves as the creek is going to be a very critical component of the natural heritage system and waterfront connections for this new community we’re building,” says Sutherland.
The developer is hoping to begin putting infrastructure and servicing in the ground for Lakeview Village itself in 2021. Once complete, the village will have cycling routes, pedestrian pathways and connections to transit.
“I think it’s going to be really special,” says Sutherland. “This is not just a residential community we’re building here, it’s a true mixed use.”
The creek, he says, will be the icing on the cake.