Photos Credit: Skid Crease
On Thursday, November 17/22, the Town of Caledon officially announced the completion of the Columbia Way Stormwater Management Project located on Bolton’s north hill in the Taylorwood – St. Michael’s Crescent neighbourhood.
Senior Project Manager Dalia Al-Ali opened the ceremony with a brief description of how the stormwater pond functions. She was joined by Cassie Schembri, Senior Project Manager and Andrew Pearce, Director of Engineering Services to assist in explaining the science behind creating this wetland water filter.
Inflow pipes from the surrounding residential neighbourhoods carry runoff into three cells of the pond, and an outflow pipe feeds surface water back into our streams and rivers. After the heavy construction was finished, thousands of aquatic plants were introduced into the area, and will reappear with the coming of spring. With those plants will come the entire ecosystem of species that create a healthy wetland.
Stormwater ponds collect runoff from rain and melting snow to help reduce localized flooding. Dirt and other solids in the runoff settle to the bottom of the pond, improving the water quality of the outflow going into our Humber River. By controlling the amount of runoff, our local watershed is also protected from streambank erosion.
The Town of Caledon’s Engineering and Capital Design Construction Division began the project in the summer of 2021 and it was completed during the spring and summer of 2022. Final improvements will be made in the spring of 2023 to meet Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) permitting requirements.
At the opening ceremony, the Project management team was joined by newly elected Ward 6 Councillor Cosimo Napoli, who enthusiastically welcomed the residents who had come out to the opening ceremony. He thanked them for their patience during the construction process and looked forward to seeing the pond come to life in the spring. A trail follows the length of the Columbia Way Stormwater Pond from St. Michael’s Crescent to Schaefer Place. It reopened days before this ceremony and was already filled with residents out walking their dogs.
Councillor Napoli delivered regrets from Ward 4,5,6 Regional Councillor Mario Russo, Ward 5 Councillor Tony Rosa, and Mayor Annette Groves who could not be present at the opening. The Mayor issued a statement thanking the community for their patience and support during the construction.
What was formerly a dry meadow will now be a functioning wetland, protecting our watershed, filtering our freshwater supply, and beautifying our neighbourhood. The Town spent over a million dollars on this project. They have done their part.
As Andrew Pearce reminded us, we are living in a time of accelerating climate change and need to be prepared for those severe weather events. As growth pushes into Caledon, local building permits get accelerated, and the Province pushes an increase in housing, we will need all the stormwater management planning the Town can provide.
On an individual level Caledon residents can help with stormwater management by keeping the local stormwater grates on our residential streets clear of leaves and debris. We are also reminded that whatever goes down a stormwater grate ends up in our management ponds, streams and rivers. Sadly we still find that some uninformed citizens dump petrochemicals, cooking oil, pesticide and herbicide residue, and fertilizer into the stormwater grates. These grates are not connected to our sewer system. The stormwater grates are indirectly connected to our community’s freshwater supply.
Beyond the impact on the human community, stormwater pollution affects every aquatic organism from waterfowl, to spawning fish, to caddisflies. Let’s make sure that whatever flows into our new Columbia Way Stormwater Pond reflects the collective responsibility of our citizens. Clean water, vibrant ecosystems, beautiful trails, and a healthy community – we can “grow” home again.