clean up could cost $1 billion
year plan could be paid by water bills
Toronto Town Crier
A stunning new report from
City Hall calls for a whopping $1 billion in new money
to pay for a clean up of Toronto’s beaches over the next
A report to Toronto’s works committee says the bill could
be paid by boosting residential water rates by between
$30 and $90 if council rubber stamps a scheme that would
see a myriad of work to be completed. A current average
water bill is about $300 per year.
The mandate of the work would include a bid to keep pollution
out of the city’s busy beaches and reduce the amount of
E-coli in city streams and rivers.
The report calls for a better way to handle the city’s
regular water runoff and storm sewer levels, which are
now responsible for overflowing, forcing the system to
allow untreated effluent into Lake Ontario.
As part of the installation of a series of new underground
infrastructure, the report calls for a further $228 for
maintenance and operational costs.
However, there are others who believe the city could slash
in half the amount it would need by simply installing
new water runoff tanks.
Two in the Beach area regularly collect and store storm
sewer water on days where water flow is heavy, and then
send it to the Ashbridge’s Bay plant during slower times.
Beaches–East York Councillor Sandra Bussin (Ward 32) points
to a report that found that the installation of the two
tanks in her area were responsible for improving the water
quality at area beaches.
"We definitely need to move ahead with solutions,"
"We have shown that these retention tanks work."
For instance, a tank near MacLean Ave. works at double
capacity — and along with the second tank, both of which
were installed in the early 1990s, were responsible for
helping to keep eastern beaches open for 80 per cent of
However, the flows have become greater in recent years
and E-coli amounts are regularly higher than levels allowed
by the province. Also, there are four separate main effluent
pipes that are known to be responsible for expelling raw
and untreated water into the lake near Ashbridge’s Bay.
For years, residents, politicians and environmental groups
have been working hard to lobby for funding to upgrade
the system with hopes of reducing E-coli levels in the
Even though the waters near Ashbridge’s Bay aren’t technically
a beach, it does pose a health hazzard because they're
used by so many recreational groups who use the water
for swimming, boating and other water sports.