Back to the...One River? Springbank Dam Environmental Assessment  Learn More

Back to the River isn't being pushed aside

Back to the….One River? Springbank Dam Environmental Assessment

June 10, 2016

The City of London has voted to combine the Springbank Dam Environmental Assessment with Back to the River, calling it the “One River” plan. 

With the future of the Springbank Dam questioned during the Back to the River design compeition, it comes as no surprise that the City of London has moved this issue to the forefront.  On May 17th, 2016, City Council voted 10-4 to approve a combined Environmental Assessment for the Springbank Dam and Back to the River initiative.  This has put the estimated time of completion of the assessments at 2018, an election year, putting Back to the River on hold.

With City of London already committing to Back to the River initiative, Back to the River isn’t being pushed aside.  Rather, it’s being magnified by the One River plan.  The foresight from London City Council to combine the Environmental Assessments shows dedication and vision, and is a positive step in beautifying and maximizing the Thames River as a thriving part of our community.

One River is a City of London plan, suggested because “Springbank Dam and its relationship to Back to the River design concepts were found to share social, economic and natural environment objectives and implications.”  The health of the Thames River will require substantial environmental monitoring, with both projects overlapping.  One River also notes that both projects are interrelated from a public use and recreational perspective: the critical goal is improved access to the Thames River.  If the Springbank Dam continues to be in operation, it will influence Civitas and Stantec’s winning “Ribbon of the Thames” design. The City of London has also cited at least $300,000 in saving by combining the two projects to create an Environmental Assessment Master Plan, the One River.

All in all, One River will allow the City to develop a terms of reference and budget for a consultant to do an environmental assessment covering the area from the Forks of the Thames and Harris Park up to Springbank Dam. 

In the meantime, London Community Foundation is still taking an active approach to keep things progressing.  Not only is the Foundation currently exploring funding options for the SoHo inaugural project, but the Foundation has been leading the process in forming a small, working task group.  This working task group will explore Back to the River as a stand-alone organization to carry on the work and vision already established. 

June 27th will mark an important day, too, as Riverlife from Pittsburgh will be visiting London to share their own experience and learnings as they reflect on their own river revitalization project.

Although things have slowed, Back to the River is far from stagnant.  Keep an eye out for more updates as time moves forward.  Back to the River will keep flowing, gaining momentum as it progresses.  

Stephanie Winterton
Passionate about being involved in the local community to engage and drive change, in addition to her desire to provide others with the tools to achieve all that they desire, Stephanie is a proud supporter of Back to the River. Stephanie is currently working at London Community Foundation as the Marketing and Communications Practicum Student.