Humber Bay for All

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On November 25 the West End Beaches Stakeholders Association (WEBSA) presented their Concept Plan for refurbishment of the breakwater and environment of Humber Bay, from Ontario Place to the Humber River. The presentation was given at the Argonaut Rowing Club. WEBSA, an independent, non-profit coalition, includes the Argonaut Rowing Club, The Boulevard Club, Sunnyside Paddling Club, and Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club, and aims at community engagement as a means to achieving positive changes to the waterfront of Toronto's western beaches.

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The WEBSA Concept Plan aims to address:

  • Impacts of high water levels, flooding, shoreline erosion, property damage
  • Breakwater disrepair and replacement
  • Impact on water and land recreation programmes
  • Martin Goodman Trail extensions
  • Increased recreation opportunities - land and water
  • Integration with Ontario Place
  • Humber River deflector arm and beach improvement
  • Provision for small craft availability and docking
To summarize, the current western beaches are shielded by a 105 year old breakwater that has reached the end of its useful life. WEBSA's proposal would see that old breakwall removed and a new one constructed, extending eastwards from the east end of the current dragon boat course breakwall to Ontario Place, and north and west from the west end of the current dragon boat course breakwall to the mouth of the Humber River. Diagrams of the proposal are available at https://www.humberbayforall.com/. Material from the old breakwall would be reused in constructing the new landmasses proposed
At the mouth of the Humber, a deflector arm is proposed to direct Humber River outflow further into Humber Bay to alleviate silting of the beaches. ​(This feature has been proposed by TRCA and Toronto Water for years. WEBSA has incorporated this feature, but it has been somewhat controversial.)   Additional landfill at the base of the deflector arm, just east of the Humber outfall would house recreational facilities.  ​
 
The section of breakwall from the Humber to about Sunnyside would be re-purposed to support a string of four islands, two of which would be connected to the shore and deflector arm with a series of pedestrian bridges integrated with the Martin Goodman Trail. ​ The other two islands would be inaccessible by foot and remain "Habitat Islands".​
The Concept Plan presented by WEBSA was developed with guidance by Walter Kehm, a landscape architect well regarded for his designs of the Tommy Thompson Park, and the recent Trillium Park at the east end of Ontario Place.
At this point WEBSA's goals are to build community and political support for their Concept Plan, and to refine its design further. To these ends the Open House they ran on November 25th presented their design and enabled a question and answer session. Feedback sheets were also provided on which visitors were invited to add their suggestions and comments.
WEBSA deserves credit for presenting a clear vision of how they would like to see the Humber Bay beaches and waterfront develop, and for opening their initiative to community input. They recognise that the next step in their progress depends on political support, and clearly see the importance of developing a community-focused design that has broad community participation in support of this goal.

 

Material from the old breakwall would be reused in constructing the new landmasses proposed (below).
At the mouth of the Humber, a deflector arm is proposed to direct Humber River outflow further into Humber Bay to alleviate silting of the beaches. 
​(This feature has been proposed by TRCA and Toronto Water for years. WEBSA has incorporated this feature, but it has been somewhat controversial.)  
 
Additional landfill at the base of the deflector arm, just east of the Humber outfall would house recreational facilities.  ​
 
The section of breakwall from the Humber to about Sunnyside would be re-purposed to support a string of four islands, two of which would be connected to the shore and deflector arm with a series of pedestrian bridges integrated with the Martin Goodman Trail. 
​ The other two islands would be inaccessible by foot and remain "Habitat Islands".