In 2011, Credit Valley Conservation doubled down on its push to make its Mississauga shoreline a natural hub for GTA dwellers with the Lake Ontario Integrated Shoreline Strategy. This multi-year study aimed to provide clear guidance on protecting and enhancing the shoreline for future generations.
Now in 2016, their most ambitious shoreline initiative is about to take form with the Lakeview Waterfront Connection project. In-water construction has begun on what will be a new conservation area on the Eastern Mississauga waterfront. The park will stretch from the old Lakeview Generating Station to the Toronto border at Marie Curtis Park.
The Lakeview Waterfront Connection project will replace the existing shoreline with greater public access, new wetlands, forests, and cobble beaches. Put it all together and you’re left with a green shoreline that will bring in human and wetland life alike.
“The most important work we can accomplish is to leave our community a better place for our children,” said Jim Tovey, CVC Board member and Peel Regional Councillor representing Mississauga’s Ward 1. “This project represents our commitment to restoring the natural environment and creating a sustainable future.” Tovey, who has been a staunch advocate for change along the waterfront, has led the Lakeview Waterfront Connection project since its inception.
Currently, the 1.5-kilometre stretch of shoreline looks more like a post-industrial landscape with no public access. The old Lakeview Generating Station – a coal burning facility – was demolished in 2007, but the lands around it haven’t really been put to good use. Today, the only defining characteristic of this stretch of shoreline is the G.E. Booth Wastewater Treatment Plant, which sits on the western side of the planned conservation area.
So you have the discarded land of an old coal-burning facility and a wastewater treatment plant. Transforming the landscape into an accessible conservation area will require years of work, but Credit Valley Conservation – an organization that protects, restores, and manages the natural resources of the Credit River Watershed – has a plan in place to open this area to the public in 7-10 years.
The plan to create the new conservation area is a partnership between Credit Valley Conservation, the Region of Peel and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Peel has committed roughly $60 million dollars to create this new conservation area and TRCA is providing technical expertise on the project.
“This project demonstrates what is possible with a strong vision and a collaborative partnership focused on improving our local environment,” said Tovey.
Construction begins with extending the shoreline out from the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Only clean fill will be used to build the new shoreline. “Clean fill” refers to building materials discarded from other construction sites that are more environmentally friendly than non-clean fill. Examples include brick, top soil, gravel, and cement that have been tested for possible contaminants, as opposed to plastic, glass, or metals. An estimated 1.5 million cubic metres of clean fill will be needed to create the space.
Once the fill is down, forested areas, meadows, and cobbled beaches will be added in.
Three rocky, inaccessible islands will also be created just offshore to help break up waves.
For Mississauga residents, trail systems, seating areas and a boardwalk will be created.
A most welcome addition will be the rerouting of the Waterfront Trail, which will now cross through the conservation area as opposed to diverting north and around the wastewater plant.
It’s not just about providing waterfront access to the public. The northwestern Lake Ontario shoreline is a popular one for migrating birds and butterflies. The new park will host 29 acres of meadow, 11 acres of forest and 19 acres of wetland. Once construction is complete this park is sure to be a popular stomping ground for many different migrating species
Fish and Fish Habitat
This area along the shoreline is not a popular one for anglers. There is limited vegetation, food, or cover here, so fish prefer Credit River to the southwest, or nearby Etobicoke Creek to the northeast.
The hope, however, is that new conservation area will create valuable wetland and nearshore habitat to support fish spawning, thereby adding to fish populations and diversity along the entire Mississauga waterfront.
“The environmental benefits will extend beyond the local area into Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes ecosystem,” said Tovey.
The islands and cobble beach bring some varied structure that fish tend to love. The two creeks that flow into the lake here - Serson Creek and Applewood Creek - will go through new wetland areas. These rejuvenated creek mouths will see more aquatic organisms, providing a much better food source for fish.
It remains to be seen whether trout or salmon will make any kind of runs up these creeks, but the potential for species like smallmouth bass, northern pike and bullhead is there.
There are no dedicated fishing areas planned yet, but CVC is exploring different options that may allow for recreational fishing in the area. CVC has acquired the Eastern Pier of the old Lakeview Generating Station lands, which serves as the western border of the new park. One potential option is that the pier could turn into a popular fishing destination, but this would require further planning, consultation and coordination with the City of Mississauga.
“We’re learning more about the connection between environmental health and human health each day. Access to natural spaces leads to a better quality of life for families and youth, and that’s exactly what the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project will do,” said Tovey.
Credit Valley Conservation estimates the new conservation area will be completed sometime between 2023-2026.