The VRS recognizes the importance of finding a more equitable and sustainable way to pay for stormwater management. However, it would be best to do this by charging an additional surtax on properties with large impervious surfaces. In addition, the City should offer Green Tax Credits for those property owners removing hard surfaces and incorporating naturalized areas and green infrastructure that filters and absorbs stormwater where it falls. These measures would help fund the increased stormwater costs, discourage grey infrastructure, and encourage green infrastructure to lessen stormwater runoff.
Vale staff made an online presentation to the Vermilion River Stewardship on 14 December 2021. It was an update on the ongoing upgrades to the Wabagishik Generating Station, on the Vermilion River and the Nairn Generating Station on the Spanish River. You will find the slide deck and audio of their presentation below.
VRS strongly supports the proposed amendments in Part 4, General Provisions, Section 4.41 Waterbodies – Water Frontage, Setbacks and Buffers as follows…
Along its course, the river widens into several lakes, including Onwatin in Hanmer; Kusk off Panache Lake Road (watch out for leeches); Grassy; and Wabagishik, out on the fringes of Ward 2. Lake Wabagishik was made famous by the Group of Seven. Franklin Carmichael painted the lake in 1928 and if you have ever paddled along its waters, you will understand why he was inspired. At the southern end of Wabagishik is a set of rapids where the river narrows once again. It is very picturesque.
I fell in love with the Vermilion River last year when I decided to paddle this stretch in early October. The colours were just starting to pop and the riverbanks were explosively yellow and bright. It was like travelling through the sun. I bottomed out about six times and had to drag my kayak through the chilly shallow waters, but it was well worth the effort.
The VRS urges our Mayor and Council to take strong action to achieve this important goal. Every day we are reminded of the urgency of this goal when we see the increasingly severe and unprecedented wildfires in British Columbia, Alberta, California and Oregon. The flooding in Ontario over the last few years, and in other parts of the Country and world have devastated entire communities. Our climate is changing much more quickly than was previously predicted, and the intensity and extent of these changes are devastatingly costly in terms of life and property.
If the design objective is to meet and provide peak flow control for storm events, it is necessary to plan beyond the 1:100-year peak flow, and instead plan for the new norm of a 1:1000-year flood event. Planning for the appropriate peak flow is crucial to building climate resilience and meeting the demand over the full lifecycle of the infrastructure. If an inadequate peak flow formula is used it could result in significant additional costs to the City if it has to repair or tear up failing infrastructure to rebuild and increase capacity before it has reached its end-life. “Even a 1000-year return period has a 5% risk of being equalled or exceeded in a 50-year period.”
The Report indicates that “the anticipated influence of climate change on precipitation is steeped in uncertainty with future projections ranging from a minimal increase to almost a 250% increase”, and yet the stormwater planning only ranges from a 1:5 to a 1:100-year flood event. The Report admits that “this range represents a significant challenge to the municipality to understand and integrate into its planning decision making process”.
The specific areas of concern (AOC) for the VRS are the Margaret, Anne and Three Corner Lake areas in Louise and Lorne Townships. The forest area within and surrounding this triangle of lakes has cultural heritage landscape values and is of significance to this community. The area has been used for cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, trapping and fishing by the Finnish Community since the early 1900s.
The Vermilion River and its connecting lakes should be promoted and recognized as a Heritage Feature because of its rich cultural, historical and social value. The Vermilion River is not even mentioned in the Plan, which we submit is a major gap.