The Holland Marsh is an artificially drained area, managed through a network of municipal drains and pumping stations. The Canal System is 28 km in length and the Main Drain is 18 km in length.

The Board maintains approximately fifty five (55) municipal drains and six (6) pumping stations. The Board has established a rotational cycle of maintenance for the internal drains.

The Holland Marsh Drainage Canal Improvement Project is a plan to restructure 28 km of the canal, including total or partial canal relocation, bottom cleanouts, and additional guard rails installed in select areas. Issues of safety, especially with respect to human fatalities and flooding, have been the primary motivations for the approximately $25 million project.

On June 9th, 2010 the Holland Marsh Drainage System Joint Municipal Service Board awarded Contract 10.1 A.A to Daniel Higgs Excavating Ltd. and Higgs and Higgs Inc. to begin work on the Canal Improvement Project. This contract included work along the South Canal from Graham Sideroad to Highway 9 and work on the North Canal from Highway 9 to Highway 400.

Work that was done at South Canal Bank Road, east of Highway 400 included the moving of the canal as well as the construction of a berm. This enhanced the life safety of those driving along the canal and has helped to slow down and prevent future deterioration of the road. Clay and stable earth were brought in for the construction of the berm to enhance the stability of the road.

The two primary reasons for this project were life safety and flood protection in the Holland Marsh. The Marsh would have been flooded out by a 50-year storm event; an event slightly less severe than 1954's Hurricane Hazel. By excavating the canals several feet deeper than specified by the original engineer's report, more water will be able to runoff into the canals.

In accordance with the requirements of the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, fish species were relocated from the construction intervals to other parts of the canal system until their habitat is restored.

The Canal Improvement Project was completed in 2016.


PROJECT TIMELINE OF EVENTS
1997 K. Smart Associates Limited, Engineer, was appointed pursuant to the Drainage Act
1997/98 Review of past reports, preparation of Preliminary Report including costing
1998/02 Section 76 of the Drainage Act, report completed allowing assessment to all upstream land including riparian landowners. Public Meetings and Open Houses were held, Section 76 Report approved
2000 Bradford West Gwillimbury received formal notice pursuant to Section 79 of the Drainage Act to put the dykes and canals into a proper state of repair, failure to do so would hold the municipality liable for all damages should flooding occur
2003 An engineer was appointed under Section 78 of the Drainage Act to prepare a final engineering report to improve the Holland Marsh Drainage System
2004/08 Canadian Environment Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA) study was undertaken with Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada being the responsible authority. Trial work was undertaken during 2008
2009 Final report was received and the public appeal process began
2010 Report was adopted by Bylaw, construction officially started June
2010/03 Engineering Report dated March 12, 2010
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The Bradford Marsh Small Drainage Scheme was constructed as a Drainage Act project pursuant to a report of A. Baird, CE/OLS dated July 7, 1925. In March, 2013, K. Smart Associates Limited, Engineer, was appointed to undertake Section 76 and 78 work pursuant to the Drainage Act to address the problems related to, and solutions available for, drainage in the Morris Road Drain component of the Scheme. Contractor commenced work in December, 2016 and the project is in its final stages of completion.

The Horlings Drainage Scheme was originally constructed privately on properties owned by G. Horlings in 1953. On May 25, 2013 and June 16, 2013, the northeast portion of the dyke failed and all scheme lands were flooded. Approval to do emergency work pursuant to Section 124 of the Drainage Act was applied for by the Municipality in June 2013. K. Smart Associates Limited, Engineer, was appointed pursuant to the Drainage Act to complete an Engineer's report to address the petition filed to reconstruct the dyke system.

As part of the Holland Marsh Drainage Canal Improvement Project and the 2009 Engineering Report prepared by K. Smart Associates Limited, the Board and MTO have tendered the work to realign the South Canal and reconstruct the road in the vicinity of Highway 400 and South Canal Bank. Trisan Construction has been awarded the work. All work is to be substantially complete by the end of November, 2018.