Less Basement Flooding, More Green Space

March 21, 2017

Over the next year, construction on the Cockburn Calrossie Combined Sewer Relief Works will transform our ward.

Not only will the $94.6 million projectreduce the risk of basement flooding in parts of the River Heights/Fort Garry sewer district, but the addition of the Parker Storm Retention Basis will also bring a number of environmental benefits as well. New walking trails, seating areas and a native upland grass and butterfly habitat are only a few of the features of the long-term project that is projected to be fully completed in 2020.

Back in 2010, our Water and Waste Department first identified that changes to the existing sewer relief system were needed to prevent future basement flooding as well as reduce the number of combined sewer overflows.

The recommendation was to transition to a total separation of storm sewers and wastewater sewers in the Cockburn West Combined Sewer District and the South East Jessie Combined Sewer District, which will remove land drainage that is currently entering the combined sewers. The separation will also help lower water treatment costs by preventing rain water and snow melt from going to the treatment plant.

What does that all mean for you? It means a civic focus on keeping your basement dryer. But I also believe we can have a place of beauty built with our function.

I saw the opportunity for this infrastructure development to be more than cement and chain link fences. As such, I introduced a motion last summer and worked with the department to develop plans for a monarch butterfly reserve and options for the nature walking trail around the water retention pond, connected to the Bus Rapid Transit Station and area development.

The retention basin will be constructed wetlands with the establishment of low maintenance native grasses, and the planting of native perennials including milkweed which provide an improved habitat for butterflies and other pollinator species.

Last month, the City held an open house to give you an opportunity to see the plans and ask any questions you might have about this important investment in our community. If you couldn’t make it, you can check out the plans online at

Right now, work is getting underway, and this fall you’ll notice the basin excavation begin. Our goal is to provide you with as much information as possible – as early as possible – about how this construction might impact your daily life. Check out for regular updates or sign up for our Neighbourhood Updates, and we’ll email you the latest news directly.

As always, if you’d like to talk about this project, or any others happening in the ward, please call my office at 204-986-5236 or email me at

This article was published in the Sou'wester and can be found online here.