Mississauga’s waterfront is about to be transformed. On Saturday, September 24, more than one hundred local residents gathered at Lakefront Promenade Marina as the Region of Peel, Credit Valley Conservation and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority celebrated the start of construction of new waterfront conservation area.

The Lakeview Waterfront Connection project will transform a degraded and inaccessible section of the shore into a beautiful, naturalized conservation area. The space is slated to become a hotspot for wildlife migration and a green oasis in the heart of the city. The new conservation area will add green space where it is sorely lacking.

The event brought residents from Mississauga and Etobicoke together to celebrate the waterfront transformation. The celebration started with a traditional water blessing ceremony performed by Valarie King of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

“This is a wonderful day for the environment, our community, the city and the Region of Peel,” said Jim Tovey, Peel Regional Councillor representing Mississauga’s Ward 1. “This project represents the community’s commitment to restoring our natural environment and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.” Councillor Tovey has led the Lakeview Waterfront Connection project since its inception.

The project is scheduled to take seven to ten years to complete. It will result in a publicly accessible conservation area roughly 48 football fields in size with 1.5 kilometres of new shoreline, stretching from the old Lakeview generating station to the Toronto border at Marie Curtis Park. The Waterfront Trail will be rerouted along the newly created shoreline, instead of its current inland path near Lakeshore Boulevard.

“This area historically contained two thriving wetlands and very productive fish spawning habitat just off shore. That’s all been lost to centuries of development,” said Nando Iannicca, Credit Valley Conservation Chair and Councillor for Mississauga Ward 7. “Today is when we start to turn back the clock and bring life back to this degraded stretch of shoreline. Today is the start of something big and Credit Valley Conservation is proud to be part of it.”

The new conservation area will be created using only clean fill from construction projects to build a new, healthier waterfront, revitalizing a degraded section of shoreline. Currently, this area has some of the lowest numbers and species of fish along the entire Mississauga lakefront. There is little food, shelter or connected corridors to support the life requirements of plants and animals. The western Lake Ontario shoreline is a key stopover area for migrating birds, bats and insects.

“A naturalization project of this scale will transform our urban environment and contribute to a healthier Great Lakes ecosystem.” said Andrew Farr, Director of Water for the Region of Peel. “We’re learning more about the connection between environmental health and human health each day. Access to natural spaces leads to a better quality of life for families and youth, and that’s exactly what the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project will do.”

The project received environmental assessment approval on May 27 2015, after a comprehensive community consultation process. The Lakeview Waterfront Connection is supported by the cities of Mississauga and Toronto and is in keeping with the sustainable principles of the Inspiration Lakeview Master Plan.

More information on the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project is available at http://lakeviewwaterfrontconnection.ca.