Federal government to invest $19M in push to prevent flooding in west-end Toronto neighbourhood

The federal government will invest $19 million along with $28.5 million from the City of Toronto to upgrade the Jane Street bridge and address flooding problems in the Rockcliffe-Smythe neighbourhood, Mayor John Tory announced Friday.

City will invest $28.5M in the project, Mayor John Tory says

In July 2019, Ricardo Mota, whose home in York was flooded and contaminated by sewage, called on the city for help to prevent homes in the area from heavy rainfall. (Submitted by Ricardo Mota)

The federal government announced it will invest $19 million along with $28.5 million from the City of Toronto to upgrade the Jane Street bridge and address flooding problems in the Rockcliffe-Smythe neighbourhood, Mayor John Tory said on Friday.

"Over the past few years, we have seen the devastating impacts flooding can have on residents and their homes," Tory said. 

"We are committed to finding ways to protect residents and their businesses during heavy rainfall and changing weather."

In a news release Friday, the city noted it has been working in collaboration with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and has completed environmental studies of the neighbourhood "seeking options to reduce sewer system, overland and riverine flooding."

Reducing impact of local flooding

Tory was joined by Catherine McKenna, the federal minister of infrastructure and communities, and Ahmed Hussen, the minister of families, children and social development and the MP for York South-Weston.

"With severe weather events on the rise, it is imperative that we invest now in infrastructure that protects Canadians, their homes, and their businesses," McKenna said.

"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."

Construction of flood mitigation measures is set to begin after 2024, according to the city, while an updated environmental assessment will begin this fall.

Last year, several homes in the York area were damaged by two floods. 

One homeowner called on the city for help after his home was inundated with water contaminated with sewage. 

Several years prior, an environmental assessment revealed issues with stormwater infrastructure around the nearby Humber River.

"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," the city's news release noted.

A 'critically important move'

The Mount Dennis Association, which advocates for area residents, commended the city's plan for the neighbourhood in a news release following the announcement.

"[It] is a critically important move ahead by governments in making people in our community more safe from the impacts of climate change," the statement reads.

"By addressing the long-recognized need to deal with Toronto's Number 1 Flood Risk area through building a Green Infrastructure project along Black Creek South, it also supports local efforts to engage community members in climate action through area re-naturalizing efforts and offers community benefits opportunities for training plus local jobs and business procurement."