Unclear on a project topic? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions below.

The project team can also be reached directly at ScarboroughWaterfrontProject@trca.ca. We’re happy to help and hear from you!

General Questions

What is the Scarborough Waterfront Project?

The Scarborough Waterfront Project is an approved plan that will provide a place for safe and enjoyable waterfront experiences accessible to all. These experiences will be supported by a system of greenspaces along a currently inaccessible area of the Scarborough waterfront between Bluffer’s Park and East Point Park. The approved plan includes the establishment of appropriate shore protection works to address the risks to public safety and public property, and to support the placement of a formal multi-use trail and public realm opportunities, enhancing the waterfront experience. All of these works are being designed to ensure minimal impact to the natural environment and, where possible, seeking to enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitats. 

Did the Scarborough Waterfront Project go through an Environmental Assessment (EA) and was it approved?

Yes, an Individual EA was completed for the Scarborough Waterfront Project and approved by the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks in November 2019. During the EA considerable public consultation and engagement was undertaken, exceeding provincial EA process requirements. Consultation efforts and comments received are documented inChapter 10 of the EA. The full EA document is available for download and reviewhere. 

Are the Brimley Road and West Segment projects part of the larger Scarborough Waterfront Project?

The Scarborough Waterfront Project covers over 11 km of shoreline, between Bluffer’s Park and East Point Park in Toronto. Due to the length of the shoreline and variation in shoreline conditions, the project area was broken into three distinct segments to aid in the development and evaluation of alternatives during the EA process: the West Segment, the Central Segment and the East Segment. For detailed design and construction, the project will be phased by these project area segments, with each segment expected to be broken down into smaller sub-projects. For example, the Brimley Road South Multi-Use Trail Project is a distinct sub-project of the proposed West Segment works, as improvements to the road and development of the trail are required to provide safe pedestrian and cyclist access during construction of the West Segment shoreline. The West Segment shoreline is the first part of the project to proceed through detailed design and follows the West Segment concept as defined in the EA.

What is detailed design?

Detailed design refers to the stage in the project development process that occurs after EA approval and before construction. Detailed design is the process of taking the preferred concept approved in the EA and developing it in detail such that it is ready for construction. The City of Toronto and other authoritative agencies and stakeholders comment on and approve detailed design elements once the design reaches milestones of 30%, 60%, 90%, and 100% completion

When will work start on the Central and East Segments?

It is expected that Central Segment design works will begin after the start of West Segment construction, and that East Segment design works will be initiated after the start of Central Segment construction. Timelines for each phase will be dependent on project funding and are yet to be determined.  

How does shoreline protection improve the aquatic habitat?

Shoreline protection works can be designed to incorporate ecological functions and improve aquatic habitat by diversifying shoreline morphology (Headland-Beach systems with wave-like profiles) and substrate (cobble and stone), as well as providing depositional areas (beach areas that accumulate sand). 

Headland-Beach systems feature all these elements, which together are more beneficial to fish and fish habitat than the uniform conditions found along some sections of the Study Area shoreline. 

The fisheries monitoring data obtained east of the Study Area at Port Union, which features a similar series of Headland-Beach systems, demonstrate a positive response of the local fish community to the increase in shoreline morphology and substrate diversity provided by Headland-Beach systems. 

In addition, shoreline protection works in the form of Headland-Beach systems offer an opportunity to restore the historical aquatic habitat conditions significantly impacted by stonehooking. 

Stonehooking removed high quantities of stone and other coarse materials that constituted valuable components of diverse nearshore fish habitat, leaving the nearshore uniform and accelerating erosion. Some of this lost diversity can be reinstated as part of Headland-Beach systems design. 

The area is already frequently used by the public, so how can you say it’s not safe?

A geotechnical assessment was completed which identified a safe setback limit from the bluffs — that is, how far away from the edge of the bluffs a trail would need to be safely located to be protected from landslides. 

While the bluffs may appear stable and safe, they are susceptible to erosion and landslides. As more and more visitors are coming to the bluffs, the risk to public safety increases. 

The Project Team is working closely with representatives from all branches of Emergency Services, including Fire, Police, and Paramedics. 

On average, Emergency Services respond to approximately 100 calls each year along the shoreline within the Study Area, ranging from minor medical calls to the more serious rescues from the bluffs. Access for Emergency Services is an important consideration in ensuring a safe experience for all. 

The waterfront can already be accessed, so why is there a need to change anything?

Currently, access to the waterfront within the Study Area is limited, with access to and along the shoreline restricted to those who are able to navigate the steep, rough terrain. 

The Project provides the opportunity to improve access for people to experience the bluffs through a range of waterfront experiences along both the top and bottom of the bluffs. 

The Project is seeking to achieve a balance between protecting and enhancing the natural environment, while providing safe public access for all abilities. 

Management and enforcement of the existing parks is already challenged. How can additional parks/greenspaces be considered without addressing the existing concerns?

The Project Team is working closely with the City of Toronto to ensure that appropriate operations and maintenance needs are identified as part of the Project. 

The Project is anticipated to help alleviate existing user pressures at Bluffer’s Park by providing additional opportunities to experience the waterfront. 

West Segment and Multi-Use Trail Project  

What is the West Segment? 

The Scarborough Waterfront Project EA divided the waterfront into 3 segments each with unique existing conditions and alternatives. The West Segment is the area from Bluffers Park to the existing shoreline protection works at Meadowcliffe and includes access improvements along Brimley Road, south of Barkdene Hills.  

How was the need for the shoreline protection and multi-use trail in the West Segment established?

The need for the shoreline protection and multi-use trail were established in the approved EA and incorporated into the preferred alternative. As the sand beach is currently at capacity and unable to receive more sand, sediment moving along the shore bypasses the beach and accumulates in the boat basin navigation channel. Expansion of both the Bluffer’s Park and Meadowcliffe headlands will redirect sand towards the beach, which will reduce the need for navigation channel dredging and improve navigational safety, as well as expand the sand beach over the long-term to accommodate the high volume of park users and provide a continuous connection to the next phase of the SWP to the east (i.e., the Central Segment). Along this section of shoreline, trails are being provided in areas where none currently exist and formalized in areas where people are currently accessing spaces informally, which has been causing damage to the bluff slopes and sensitive beach vegetation. Trail alignment has been determined through geotechnical analysis of the bluff slopes to ensure public usage areas are positioned outside of the erosion hazard risk area.

What public consultation has taken place since approval of the EA in November 2019?

Since the initiation of West Segment Shoreline and Multi-Use Trail (MUT) detailed design work in Fall 2020, the following engagement activities have taken place at the 30% to 60% design stages: 

  • December 2021: Virtual Public Open House for the Brimley Road South MUT Project 
  • 2022: On-going discussions with community interest groups at design milestones 
  • April-May 2023: Virtual and in-person public engagement events for the West Segment Shoreline & MUT
With the influx of people expected to use the trail, what other public facilities/ amenities will you be improving or providing as part of the Project? 

The City of Toronto recognizes that park use has increased and changed, particularly over the past few years.  As a result of the changing nature and intensity of use, the City is identifying potential improvements to park facilities including a full upgrade of the Bluffer’s Park East Washroom and Maintenance Facility. This project includes upgrades to the existing washroom and maintenance building and a new outdoor plaza, with amenities and landscape features. The project is currently expected to begin construction in Fall 2024 and be completed by Fall 2025.

Will the trail at the east end of Bluffer’s Beach be safe?

Due to the risk of landslides in the area, the shoreline protection works are being designed to provide sufficient space to locate the multi-use trail outside the erosion hazard line – generally the area at risk from landslides. 

Through the EA, the Project Team worked closed with representatives from all branches of Emergency Services, including Fire, Police, and Paramedics to ensure that future trail design works would be able to accommodate Emergency Services vehicles across the full length of the Project Study Area shoreline. The West Segment shoreline multi-use trail is now being designed to facilitate this access, with additional trail-to-beach access points being incorporated for emergencies that happen off the trail. 

How will the shoreline protection works and multi-use trail impact species at risk, specifically bank swallows? 

Bank swallows are generally tolerant of human disturbance and are generally located on the steeper slopes of the bluffs.  Construction of the shoreline protection works and multi-use trail will not directly affect species at risk but may disturb nesting.  There are many other nesting areas along the bluffs and, as experienced in the past, bank swallows will move to these other areas if disturbed.  

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