Downtown Brampton lies within the regulatory floodplain of the Etobicoke Creek. In response to frequent flooding, the creek was diverted around the town through a concrete-lined bypass channel, built in 1952. While this channel has protected the area from flooding, it does not exempt the downtown from strict provincial regulations that limit development.
The provincial government has designated downtown Brampton as a Special Policy Area (SPA). This designation recognizes that the area lies within the regulatory floodplain, but also that it represents the heart of Brampton and should be maintained as a place to invest and do business.
Feasibility studies have shown that it is possible to eliminate the flood hazard, which would, in turn, allow for the removal of the SPA designation. This can be achieved by reconfiguring the channel to provide more room for flood waters (e.g., lowering, widening) and potentially constructing a structure that will cut off flows to the downtown core.
Eliminating the flood risk would address climate change and allow for the removal of the SPA designation. In turn, it would unlock the potential for urban growth and development, and create a vibrant new public space that provides a distinct identity for the city.
The Riverwalk project is part of, and contributes to, a greater planning vision for the City of Brampton.