As Niagara-on-the-Lake’s golf club’s restaurant opened its doors Wednesday, the massive $4.7 million project to restore the Lake Ontario shoreline along the northern edge of the course is continuing.
“We’ve been closed for a couple of months, but we’re excited to be reopened again,” said John Wiens, owner of the NOTL Golf Club.
Wiens said he is really thankful that Parks Canada is working with the club on restoring the shoreline.
“(The project) is coming along really well,” he told The Lake Report. “They’ve done quite a bit this winter. We’re excited to get a good portion of it done.”
Parks Canada has been working on creating a rock breakwall to protect the shore from erosion that was posing a threat to Fort Mississauga and causing trees and large chunks of earth to fall into the lake.
Phase 1 of the project, which started last spring and finished in the fall, included 80 to 100 metres of shore protection work along the western end of the course. Phase 2 started this winter and will cover about 500 metres moving eastward toward the fort.
Brendan Buggeln, Parks Canada’s asset manager, said the project was initially scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2020 but he now hopes to be done this summer.
“I’m really pleased with how much we’ve been able to get done today,” he told The Lake Report.
In total, $4.7 million will be spent on the project, including environmental assessments and tree planting. Buggeln said $970,000 was first allocated for studies and phase designs in April 2018.
Between 100 and 200 trees need to be removed during the work because they are either dead, fallen or at risk of falling into the lake, said Buggeln.
“We did survey them and most of them are not native species. There were no species at-risk trees, so we didn’t have any concerns there,” he said.
Once the breakwall construction is complete, Parks Canada, along with NOTL Golf Club, will replant about 300 native species of trees and bushes along the shore.
Parks Canada is aware the public wants proper pedestrian access to the shore but, at this point, doesn’t know yet how it can be done safely, Buggeln said.
Wiens said he encountered some challenges this past winter while preparing for this week’s reopening.
“There was a lot of wind. We had a lot of natural pruning out on the course,” he said. “There’s been a lot of cleanups. And we had an arborist this winter as well when he trimmed a good number of trees.”
The golf course is set to open next Friday, April 5, weather permitting, he said.
The semi-private golf club, with over 500 members, features a full-length nine-hole golf course and a dining area with a waterfront patio.
The clubhouse restaurant brings back some old items like Taco Tuesdays and Name That Tune trivia game on Thursdays. It will also have new items on the menu such as a family-style roast dinner on Sundays, Wiens said.