A stretch along the Thames River that runs through the downtown core of London is now a study area for new developments. The ‘One River Master Plan’ is a plan to create various projects along the Thames River through engagement with the public, approval agencies, stakeholders, First Nations, and Métis. These projects will focus on enhancing the community’s recreational and ecological vision for the river.
Some improvements that the plan will focus on are:
- Improving the quality and safety of existing access locations (pathways along the river, fishing and boat access, and lookouts.
- Constructing new access points to the river.
- Improving/repairing erosion, and preserving the riverbank.
- Protecting and improving natural heritage features.
The ‘One River Master Plan’ includes a back to the river approach to hopefully get people to engage with the river as much as possible.
The Ribbon of the Thames
Part of the master plan is to construct a multi-million dollar suspension bridge over the Forks of the Thames in a shape of a ribbon. Strolling down Dundas Place past the new museum exhibit, will lead Londoner’s to a boardwalk that extends out over the water. Below the boardwalk will be a cove area with a small beach area for easy access to the water. Ashley Rammeloo is the director of the river master plan. She is hopeful that this new spot will bring back engagement with the river.
“Really trying to get people back to the riverfront to engaging with the river. This event space will really be the focal point of the city.”
The Ribbon will be a spot that will hold various events to give Londoner’s a purpose to visit the river.
“We can have food trucks and pop-up events and things like that that will create a gathering space for the people of London,” she said.
The Thames River is prone to flooding after every winter season. The city says they have taken that into account and in the detailed design phase, they will look at ways to combat the flooding and control erosion.
The Springbank Dam
In the master plan, the preferred strategy to deal with the Springbank Dam is to partially remove the south half of the concrete structure. It will improve habitat by restoring the south shoreline with vegetation. Partial removal of the dam will still allow for the one half to be re purposed for public use.
“The concrete structure still has a significant amount of life left in it. We’re planning on putting money into that as well. So, if we leave the structure there, it could be re purposed into a public amenity space,” said Rammeloo.
Three alternatives were considered for the dam:
- Do nothing: Dam maintained in current condition.
- Free flowing river: Full removal of the dam
- Reinstate the Dam: Repair or reconstruct the dam.
Partial removal is the way the city is planning on tackling the dam because it will provide a good balance of health restoration to the river and another attraction along the stretch of the Thames.
Partial removal of the dam is the most affordable as well, costing the city anywhere between $1 000 000 and $4 000 000.
The Thames River has always been an important part of the city. The ‘One River Master Plan’ will do its best to preserve the river and make it a greater attraction for the city. The plan is still in its development phase. The next steps are to propose the project to council and then the ministry. The dream project could become a reality within the next ten years.