Toronto just announced that city staff will be pursuing funding at provincial and federal levels to accelerate the Don River and Central Waterfront (DRCW) project. "This project is the largest of its kind in Canada and will improve water quality in the Lower Don River, Taylor-Massey Creek and Toronto's Inner Harbour in Lake Ontario," says the news release. Part of the project's goal is to improve Toronto beach water quality and make the city's waters more swimmable.
The project, which will cost $2.5 billion, was originally set to be completed by 2038, but the date has recently been fast-tracked to 2030.
Mayor John Tory announced that he is "committed to speeding up the essential work we need to do to protect our waterways."
"I'm confident that we can work with the federal and provincial governments to complete this work almost a decade earlier than planned for the good of our waterfront and our environment," he said in a statement.
Benefits of the project will include safer swimming and recreational activities in the water, so you can make the most of your summer without exposing yourself to E. coli and other possible contagions. Aquatic life is also set to thrive, and excessive algae will be under control.
Although the water quality is tested daily, Toronto's waterfront is still listed as a polluted Area of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin and has been since 1987. It has been restored for beneficial use since 2011, according to the Government of Canada, but is still at risk of contamination when there are sewer water overflows after a storm or snowmelt.
Construction began last fall on multiple underground tanks and tunnels that will capture, store and treat contaminated water caused from the sewage overflows. It will then redirect the treated water back into the Lake and other surrounding bodies of water.
A great forward-thinking plan from the City of Toronto. Hopefully, they can fast track it again and have this vision come to life even sooner.