Erin Mills ~ Water and Watercourses
By Brian Madigan LL.B.
Erin Mills is located on the west side of the Credit River in Mississauga and contains several valleys and watercourses that are tributaries to the Credit.
The Credit River system drains water from Orangeville and north Halton into Lake Ontario. It was a major transportation corridor for the aboriginal peoples who occupied Peel and Halton hundreds of years ago.
The principal creeks and valleys are Mullet Creek and Sawmill Valley. They meander through Erin Mills and eventually find their way to the Credit River.
Those same watercourses presented a challenge and concern to developers.
The conservation authorities now focus upon the one hundred year flood. This is the big flood that will occur every 100 years following a massive and sudden rainfall. That happened in Erin Mills in 1954. In fact, it was Halloween, but most people stayed in that night. Bridges were torn out, houses fell into the valleys and were swept downstream.
So, this was a planning problem. The developers of Erin Mills found a "natural solution". Keep nature in place!
Previously, the approach to development had been to pave everything over. This created hard surfaces and placed a high demand on the sewer system at the times of heavy and excessive rainfalls. By leaving the natural watercourses in place, followed by the construction of large water conservation reservoirs, the problem would be solved. First, the natural watercourses would fill up, then, the overflow would be handled by the reservoirs.
The subdivisions in Erin Mills were laid out with this in mind.
The next question was what do you do with these watercourses in non-peak times? You use them for pedestrian walkways! Throughout Erin Mills, you will find walking paths taking the course of nature through the same routes alongside the watercourses that the original peoples once travelled. It's very picturesque and an extremely valuable asset to the community.
By and large, most areas left in a state of nature within Erin Mills fall within the jurisdiction of the Credit Valley Conservation Authority. Longer term, now that Cadillac Fairview and Erin Mills Developments have left the planning behind, it is the CVCA which takes charge.
If you ask the residents what they like about Erin Mills, many will say the "walkways".
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker