Construction starts at Cherry St. on $1.25 billion Toronto Port Lands Flood Protection project

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GTA Construction Report staff writer

Construction has started on the $65 million Cherry St. stormwater and lake-filling project, part of the $1.25 billion Toronto Port Lands Flood Protection Project.

“This work … is absolutely necessary before you can do anything much with the Port Lands,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said at the groundbreaking on Jan. 11.

The overall project will require about seven years to complete. The Cherry St. component should be completed by 2020.

EllisDon is the overall flood protection project construction manager, with a $858 million contract (including construction trades packages) awarded in October, 2017. The lead engineer is CH2M and the landscape architect is Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc.

The Cherry St. stormwater work is taking shape at Essroc Quay on the south side of the Keating Channel. New land will be created around the project site to allow the street’s realignment. There will also be a new bridge, as well as an aquatic habitat for the proposed Promontory Park.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform an underused resource in the heart of downtown. Flood protecting the port lands will make way for sustainable new communities that deliver affordable housing and job opportunities,” Waterfront Ontario chief executive officer William Fleissig said in a statement. “This project will enhance Toronto’s resilience to extreme weather while also restoring a natural environment for all Canadians to explore.”

The larger Port Lands Flood Protection project features the development of a new river valley and a naturalized mouth for the Don River, while remediating contaminated soil. Through these, the project is anticipated to unlock new land that could be used for developing sustainable communities.

Tory said the start of construction in Toronto’s Port Lands “marks an important milestone in the city’s vision for a vibrant, clean Toronto waterfront.”

“This is the beginning of unlocking the potential of our underutilized waterfront lands, protecting the area from flooding and supporting new places to live, work and play in Toronto,” he said in a news release.

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