Corp Comm Connects

Stouffville resident worries about impact of development on his pond

Past two springs, water has come within 18 feet of the house
April 25, 2019
Simon Martin

For 31 years Jon McPhee has been looking out at a pond in his backyard at his home on Ninth Line in Stouffville.

“Normally you wouldn’t see it from the road,” he said. But things are different this year and that has McPhee worried.

Lots of things are changing around McPhee’s house along the southeast corner of Ninth Line and Bloomington Road in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

A parcel of land just south of Bloomington Cove Care Community has been approved for development since 1990 predating the implementation of Oak Moraine Conservation Act.

For nearly 30 years it has sat with little activity. But that is changing as developers are working toward building 68 residential lots with minimum lot sizes of 0.75 acres, serviced by private individual well and septic systems.

McPhee believes the drainage of the area has changed since the developer has been preparing the land. “Since they started landscaping the subdivision there has been huge run off the last two springs with water coming within 18 feet of the house,” McPhee said.

The last two years McPhee has seen the pond flooded in the spring and dried up in the summer which wasn’t the case before.

McPhee came to expect some fluctuation in the pond water level but nothing this extreme. The pond has become a very important part of his backyard where McPhee spends much of his time. He is worried about its viability going forward.

The Town has been in touch with McPhee on the matter. Dave Kenth, Manager of Engineering for the town said he is aware McPhee doesn’t want the development to dry up or flood his pond.

“In investigating the resident’s concerns, the Town discovered that the fluctuations in pond size on the resident’s property is not something new. The Town has aerial photographs dating back to 1978, which shows that the pond flooding beyond its banks with flood waters approaching the house,” he said. “Other aerial photographs taken in different years show that the pond size decreasing in size and receding below its banks.” Kenth said this was all before the developer started work on the subdivision.

At McPhee’s request, the developer’s consulting engineers have amended their grading plans to divert some of the drainage from the development to the resident’s pond. According to the town, McPhee still wants more drainage to be diverted to his pond.

According to Toronto Regional Conservation Authority Senior Planner Jackie Burkart the area is not regulated by the TRCA and was not subject to permits. She said It appears an area of surface drainage was diverted away from the natural drainage course that had flowed toward the McPhee site prior to site grading. Any impacts to the adjacent property are considered local drainage issues, she said.

McPhee was also concerned about the elimination of little ponds that held some run-off. The town said elimination of the vernal ponds will be replicated through the developer implementing soakaway pits after house construction. “This requirement was on the original design and the resident seemed to be satisfied that this solution will address his concern,” Kenth said. McPhee said properties like his are the reason the Oak Ridges Moraine Act was implemented because the little ponds help recharge the streams. That being said there is little that can be done as the development was approved before the act was implemented. But if things go as McPhee believes they are at the moment there will be change.

“I will have a dry pond here,” he said.