Downey Well and Pumphouse access laneway project

About the project

Downey Well is one of the major drinking water supply sources for the City of Guelph. The current path to Downey Well and Pumphouse is located at the intersection of Downey Road and Woodland Glen Drive. This location is shown in Figure 1. The existing laneway crosses Hanlon Creek via a concrete bridge. The bridge’s structural condition has been assessed and found unsuitable for heavy maintenance vehicles. Therefore, the City’s crews and contractors cannot access the Downey Well and Pumphouse for maintenance.

A consultation with the Heritage Planning Department revealed that the bridge might have significant heritage value. This prevents it from being rebuilt. The City is at risk of losing this vital water supply source and infrastructure without proper access for maintenance.

A new access laneway is required to reduce this risk and to continue to meet the City’s water demand.

This project aims to provide a new laneway for accessing and maintaining the Downey Well and Pumphouse. In doing so, it also hopes to limit the economic, environmental, and social impacts.  The project is scheduled to start in Spring 2024 until Fall 2024 weather permitting.

map showing alternative access route

Figure 1: Existing Site Layout and New Proposed Laneway for Downey Well Access and Maintenance

Project timeline

  • Environmental Impact Study and Tree Inventory and Protection Plan: 2022 – 2024
  • Design Contract Award: Fall 2023
  • Design Completion: Winter 2024
  • Construction Contract Award: Spring 2024
  • Tree Removals: Spring 2024
  • New Laneway Construction and Restoration: August – September 2024

Design considerations

The new laneway design will:

  • Avoid impacts to private property.
  • Be a low-impact, green infrastructure solution that blends into the surrounding environment.
  • Provide a two- to 12-meter buffer from the existing fence/tree line on private properties.
  • Avoid or minimize wetland interference and intrusion on significant features or hydrologic and ecological functions.

Environmental Impact Study and Tree Inventory and Protection Plan

  • The City has engaged NRSI, an environmental consulting firm. NRSI has completed the preliminary Environmental Impact Study (EIS), including Aquatic Habitat Assessment.
  • NRSI is currently updating the EIS. They are also developing the Tree Inventory and Protection Plan (TIPP) based on the proposed design. TIPP will identify the number and locations of trees to be removed. The City will replant the trees to compensate for tree removals.
  • A consultation with the MCEA (Municipal Class Environmental Assessment) advisor revealed that MCEA only applies to public roads. The proposed laneway is not a public road. It’s on City-owned property and will be used only by City vehicles or contractors to access Downey Well and Pumphouse for operation and maintenance purposes. Therefore, an MCEA is not required.

Project status and updates

GMBluePlan has been selected to provide engineering design and contract administration services and has completed the following tasks:

  • Background data collection and review.
  • Utility mapping, geotechnical investigations, and topographic survey.
  • Base plan and 30 per cent design.

For more information

Rizwan Younis, PhD, P.Eng.
Project Manager, Water Services
[email protected]