The Jane Dilemma

Is the city of Toronto a good neighbour? It is a basic principle of common law that if you modify your property, you cannot cause damage to your neigbours.

“In general, the underlying theme is that adjoining landowners are expected to use their property reasonably without unduly interfering with the rights of the owners of contiguous land. Actions taken by a landowner that appropriate adjoining land or substantially deprive an adjoining owner of the reasonable enjoyment of his or her property is an unlawful use of one’s property.” *

Prior to 1965 the bridge over the Black Creek at Jane was a wooden trestle that allowed the creek to overflow its banks without damaging neighbouring properties. **

But in 1965, Metropolitan Toronto demolished the trestle, filled the valley, and installed the inadequate culvert that remains to the present day.

The inadequacy of the generic culvert design was best demonstrated in 2005 at Finch Avenue, when the Black Creek culvert washed away destroying Finch Avenue. ***

The inadequacy at Jane is documented in a joint Toronto/TRCA engineering drawing that indicates that on the west (downstream) side of the creek, anticipated high water level in a regional storm is 101.97 m above sea level, while on the other side of the culvert, the water raise to an elevation of 108.21 m creating a lake that extends not only to Weston Road, but also continues on the other side of Weston Road flooding Keelesdale Park to Eglinton. The inadequate culvert holds back 6.24m of water ( for old timers, that is 20 feet and 6 inches higher than on the west side, and on the west side, the water is already high enough to be flowing over Scarlett Road!

Not sure when this was first documented, and the digitized version of the old document is very low quality. This version is from 1982, and is NOT the first version! Current versions have similar alarming information, and MDCA is waiting to see the latest version arising from the recent hydrology studies. It would be interesting to see what basis TRCA and Metropolitan Toronto based the culvert size on, given the flood channel was in theory designed to protect people in the areas not expropriated ( the Special Policy Area or SPA ) from a storm similar to Hurricane Hazel which killed dozens of people in the district.

Toronto has adopted a measure to reassess the measures to be taken in our area **** and indicates that only after they are recommended to “proceed to implementation” will they go to the budget process to allow them to actually be scheduled for work. As we understand the Federal and Provincial policies for many funding projects that are to increase economic activity, only projects that are funded are eligible for funding. Even the “climate change mitigation” projects require funding approval by the municipality before the upper levels of government will participate.

So when will Toronto formally add flood mitigation in the Black Creek valley to the approved project list, with start and finish dates?

Update:  Our federal and municipal representatives, Ahmed Hussen and Frances Nunziata,  announced approval of this project.  However, we are still awaiting an announcement from City Hall as to what projects will be approved for 2022 and 2023 so enfineering work can proceed.