An ongoing issue of funding to complete much-needed work on the waterfront has been resolved.
Council has approved spending $300,000 on projects in the Ball’s Beach parkette this summer, within the time frame of the provincial permit that allows the work to be completed.
The Town has been trying to manage soil erosion and flooding since 2017, the first year of seriously high water levels, which recurred in 2019.
Those two summers caused significant damage to the shoreline in the Dock Area, and put a historic culvert and public infrastructure at risk, says a town staff report.
An erosion plan has been implemented in small parts as funding became available, and when water levels were low.
On July 18, waterfront resident Ron Simkus, a mining engineer who keeps Dock Area residents abreast of water levels and soil erosion issues, sent an email to councillors, town staff and residents, saying the next 30 days will provide “ideal conditions for work in the water,” and fall within the time frame of the environmental permit to allow the work to be completed.
Simkus said his email was sent to support Town environmental supervisor Brett Ruck, who had a report to present to council asking for the funding for the project. The Dock Area resident wanted to add his voice, and that of his neighbours along the waterfront, to the urgency of the situation.
The work should have been done in 2018, he said, but the Town was not able to get the provincial permit in time. The even higher levels of 2019 weren’t expected, and the in-water work had to wait.
It needs to be done this year, he says, because current conditions could mean high water levels again in 2021.
In the last two weeks, Simkus says, town surveyors have been staking property boundary lines along the parkette, and several trees have been marked with paint for removal.
About 100 large, expensive anchor stones, boulders and cobble, have been piled in the parkette since the spring of 2018, but the work was put on hold while the Town waited for the provincial permit, which allows the in-water work to be done outside the fish-spawning season.
The groyne installation, which involves placing anchor stone in the water to create a small peninsula at an angle to the shore, can be completed within the allowed time, councillors heard from Ruck at last week’s council meeting. The in-water portion of the project is only expected to take about three weeks.
The groyne in the lake acts like a breakwater, Simkus explained. Boulders placed along the shoreline prevent waves from taking soil with them as they wash back into the lake.
The report to council says additional stone will be necessary to complete the groyne, estimated at $140,000, which includes the material delivered and placed.
The boulder berm is unbudgeted, and will cost about $100,000. The balance of $60,000 is required for park restoration.
Councillors approved the $300,000 to allow the project to go ahead. Whatever work is not completed will be included in 2021 budget considerations.
There may be a need for park closure while the work is done, councillors heard, but once more detailed information is available, residents will be notified.