eNews – The Beaver Pond fails – Never seen levels of flooding

The overflow was so extensive following the August 7 – 8 rainstorm that stormwater was flowing overland from the Beaver Pond, down the nearby walking paths ultimately eroding the Kizell Creek.   Adjacent property owners on Kimmins Court report soaked property along the shared City property line.

Kizell Creek erosion results

The overflow was so extensive following the August 7 – 8 rainstorm that stormwater was flowing overland from the Beaver Pond, down the nearby walking paths ultimately eroding the Kizell Creek.   Adjacent property owners on Kimmins Court report soaked property along the shared City property line.  The following photos were taken 2 days after the 106.3mm rainfall.  The Beaver Pond flooded in an earlier summer storm, however, system response allowed for water pullback in days once the City identified blocked drain outlets.  This week it took the City four days to identify and resolve multiple points of collapse.   On Tuesday, inquiring residents were told by workers an automatic ballast system installed in recent years between the KNL Parcel 9 lands and above the Beaver Pond was an issue- its apparent manipulation created the first surge in the water overland around the Pond and down the creek bed.  However, the Beaver Pond level did not drop in a major way until Thursday when staff removed ‘significant levels of vegetation’ from the outlet to the Kizell Creek.

Overland flow east of the Beaver Pond approaching adjacent residential properties.  Photo: Neil Thomson  August 10, 2022

Unfortunately,  the resulting surge roared down the Kizell Creek a second time in as many days blowing out the sides of the creek and doubling its width to over 2 metres and depth to almost 1 metre as it courses near the rear lot lines of the homes on Kimmins Court.

The Beaver Pond looking west towards the Provincially Significant Wetlands   Photo:  Mary Carver    August 9, 2022

What’s changed?  We’ve had storms before

The stormwater management (SWM) infrastructure built primarily between the 1960s and  1980s relied heavily on the use of natural geographic features ( an existing Beaver Pond and many hundreds of acres of permeable open land, the open and greenspace defined by the 40% Agreement, to absorb and hold stormwater, slow runoff times to prevent erosion in the Kizell Creek and protect all downstream landowners, from the residential homes of Kimmins Court to the Kanata North Tech Park and onto the National Capital Commission (NCC).  This was a more environmentally sensitive and much less costly method than the alternative, an expanded hard SWM infrastructure system which required more intensive blasting and burrowing beneath the extensive bedrock of  Kanata North which neither developers nor the City wished to pay for.  The first important natural feature is the remaining open space in Kanata Lakes, and particularly the 71 hectares of Kanata Golf Club, which acts like a basin to collect, absorb and disperse the water at the top of the Kizell Drain.  It drains to the Beaver Pond which operates as a holding tank, controlling the rate at which stormwater then flows downstream through the Kizell Creek to the Ottawa River.

Storm water floods pathways towards Kimmins Court when the Beaver Pond outlet to the Kizell Creek fails.  On Tuesday August 9, 24 hours after the rains stopped, the water continues to pour overland flooding a community footpath on the east side of the Beaver Pond.   It encroaches on the pedestrian bridge and then flows beyond the Kizell Creek to the edge of City property. Photos: Neil Thomson,  August 10, 2022

Daily incidents of flooding, erosion and other stormwater damage related to climate change are widely reported.  Storms are increasing in intensity and frequency and environmental experts connect it directly to climate change.  It appears this week, that the monthly high-volume rainstorms of this summer are exhausting the Kizell system’s ability to process the accumulation in time for the next one.  Is the SWM system failing under this load?

Is it only about the environment?

Over the past few years, blasting, regrading and road and SWM infrastructure installation for a new KNL residential development immediately north of the Beaver Pond has been ongoing.  This controversial development actually began almost twenty years ago when the City of Ottawa sold off the significant urban forest and open greenspace in this area to a partnership of developers (KNL) despite public protest.   In 2005, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) approved three parcels for development – KNL 7, 8 and 9.  Approximately 6 years ago, KNL finally received approval from the City to develop parcel 9 with its SWM draining directly into the Beaver Pond. The City’s analysis at the time justified the development suggesting the systemic stormwater load would neither overload nor compromise the Beaver Pond’s critical function in the Kizell Drain.  Something appears no longer to be working.

SWM outlet from the KNL lands into the Beaver Pond.  At left is the historic water level mid-summer at this relatively new outlet.  The photo at right shows the water level almost fully submerging the outlet and underground infrastructure  two full days after the storm. Photo: Neil Thomson   August 10, 2022

After walking the site almost daily this week, Neil Thomson, President of the nearby Kanata Beaverbrook Community Association (KBCA) said  “This is the most extensive flooding I have seen having lived here for 30 years.  We used to worry about the spring snowmelt and rainfall.  This is way beyond any spring flooding we have ever seen.”

The KGPC continues to work for your community

The Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition is asking the City to lead a transparent investigation into what appears to be multiple failures in the Kizell SWM system this week.  We spoke with City Councillor Cathy Curry, a stalwart supporter of our opposition to the proposed ClubLink/Minto/Richcraft development of the Kanata Golf Club Lands.   After visiting the site early last week City Councillor Cathy Curry wrote,  “I am so appreciative to the community members for sending me the videos and photos of the flooding they are witnessing.   They have been sent on to the City stormwater engineers and the legal team. If this is the flooding we are seeing with rainstorms now, it is hard to imagine what could happen with any additional housing and with the storms we are told to expect to see in future.”  

Central to the City’s stated position at the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) hearing in early 2022 in opposition to the ClubLink development was that the Beaver Pond was at maximum load with the current KNL Parcel 9 development.  The OLT granted ClubLink a development approval but then tied up the ClubLink/Minto/Richcraft bulldozers with 192 outstanding criteria to be met – the major one, a stormwater management plan that is acceptable to the City, given the City’s ultimate liability for damage resulting from SWM failures.

The KGPC and Councillor Curry have contacted the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA), the oversight authority for the Kizell Drain.  We are asking our Kanata-Carleton MPP Merrilee Fullerton to join us given the provincial mandate over the MVCA.   We are also connecting with our Kanata- Carleton MP Jenna Sudds together with the NCC.

We’ve now spent almost 3 years challenging the Province of Ontario to join the City of Ottawa and our community in opposition to the ClubLink development.  Unceasing environmental change and the unstated impact of ongoing development – the truth is drowning in the floodwaters of the Beaver Pond.   Kanata North residential and high-tech business communities are at risk… NOW.   This week Mother Nature painted a picture… there seem to be multiple points of failure in the Kizell SWM system at the present time.    At the very least, it appears to be losing flex and cannot accommodate the additional loss of 71 hectares of permeable ground proposed by ClubLink, Minto and the development of the Kanata Golf Club.  The City must double down from its no new development position at the OLT six months ago and begin a  more transparent public discussion of a huge problem.

Help us help you.   We appreciate your donation as we ready for September 13 and 14 in Superior Court.

Your choice in the upcoming Municipal Elections and the protection of our Environment matter more today than ever!

Consider this your personal invitation to the upcoming Mayoral Discussions and Debate on environmental issues in Ottawa.   See you at the KRC on Tuesday, August 30!

Take good care and stay in touch!  If there is something you think we’ve missed… let us know!

We’ll stay better together!


Barbara Ramsay
Chair, Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition
T – 613-725-6595
E – chair@ourkanatagreenspace.ca

Posted in Uncategorized.