Locals envision new Rosehill Reservoir
City will be forced to remove 55 trees for rehabilitation project
For locals living in the Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue area, the Rosehill Reservoir is first and foremost their park. So when the Summerhill Residents Association (SRA) heard the beloved green space would be torn apart for rehabilitation work, they wanted to ensure the community would have a say in its redesign.
The City of Toronto proposed a draft plan for the site by landscape architects AE + Brodie & Associates. However, Deborah Briggs, president of the SRA, said the community disagreed with certain elements of the plan. So locals rallied to form a group called the Rosehill Vision to come up with their own design.
“This group is working with councillors [Kristyn Wong-Tam and Josh Matlow], city staff and the community to develop a longterm vision for the reservoir to meet the needs of the surrounding residents,” said Briggs.
During a presentation made in November, the group argued the design didn’t include enough sport and play areas and the washrooms were too far out of sight. But the main issue the group is looking to address is the impact construction will have on the tree canopy.
“It is the expectation of the community that as few trees will be removed as possible and those that are removed will be replaced.”
According to Lyne Kyle, of Toronto Water, the City of Toronto will need to remove approximately 55 trees during the rehabilitation process.
“Tree planting on top of the reservoir will not be permitted, in order to protect the reservoir’s roof structure and new waterproofing membrane,” Kyle added.
Ward 27 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has asked the group to keep that in mind during consultations for the final vision.
“A vision recognizing that there are technical, physical limitations because it is a reservoir project and we’re building not in unlimited grow depth, but rather on top of a concrete roof,” said Wong-Tam.
Wong-Tam said she empathizes with the surrounding community but insisted the project is vital.
“As the city builds around these types of infrastructure projects and intensification happens, community members see it as strictly a park and perhaps do not recognize the importance of the water reservoir component,” she added.
The upgrades will take three years to complete and are necessary to ensure the structural integrity of the reservoir, extend its service life and bring the infrastructure back to a state of good repair.
A public consultation is planned for the spring, with construction slated for 2018.
ST. CLAIR AVE. Councillors Josh Matlow and Kristyn Wong-Tam are working with residents to redesign the space over the reservoir