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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Spring flood watch: New rock barrier can’t be installed until July

The work on installing a groyne – a pile of large rocks to stop waves from crashing on to the shore – at NOTL’s Dock Area will not start until after July 15 when the fish spawning season is over, a town official says.

The work hasn’t started yet because there is a hole or a pocket at the edge of the existing groyne in the water, Brett Ruck, the town’s environmental services supervisor, told NOTL council’s committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 10.

“Had we started not knowing the void is there, it would’ve been a significant extra in cost,” Ruck told The Lake Report. “Since we did find out it’s there, it’s better we plan for it.”

The void has to be filled with other rocks before the groyne can be placed on top of it, Ruck said at the meeting.

The groyne itself is located to the left of the historic culvert at Ball’s Beach Park. Town staff are working on a shoreline stabilization project with consultants from Toronto-based Shoreplan Engineering firm.

Construction cannot start between March 1 and until after July 15 because of a federal restriction that prevents staff from entering the water during fish spawning season, Ruck told councillors.

Once the project starts, the in-water work will take about two weeks, he said in an information report to council.

Last summer, town staff had to wait for the water level to drop as high levels prevented them from seeing what was going on underwater. However, this year, the staff will just have to deal with working in deep water once the construction starts in July, Ruck said. 

The same measures that were taken last spring, including placing metered bags, tiger dams and bladders, will be taken this year as well, and will also protect more area, Ruck said. 

There are also pumps available for immediate use if needed.

“It’s going to be exactly the same process we did last year. Pretty much the same locations and we’ll weather through the storm at that point,” Ruck told The Lake Report.

He said he wasn’t sure how much higher the water level would go this year as it depends on what happens at Lake Superior, on the works at the Moses-Saunders dam near Cornwall and how the government “overall manages the system.”

“I just know the water levels are expected to go up and I’ll wait till I get close to the time.”

Once the staff receives a marine archeological report, a tender to complete the work at the Ball’s Beach will be finalized, Ruck said in a phone interview. 

“Always protect yourself as though the town is not protecting you,” Ruck advised residents who live near the Dock Area. “The town is protecting infrastructure so that people can continue to live in their homes.”

The staff is also investigating all available grant options, Ruck told councillors.

Several shoreline protection projects, including manhole and catchbasin upgrades on Melville Street, a pump feasibility study, Riverbeach Park restoration and other work, are estimated to cost more than $1 million. There is currently $128,000 in the budget allocated for the Dock Area works, according to Ruck’s report.

If the town decides to wait for funding and until reserves get built up, the work at the Dock Area could take up to 2029, Ruck told councillors.

However, if the town decided to debenture the funds, all the work could be completed this year.

“It’s just the matter of the funds,” Ruck said at the meeting.

Council will make a decision regarding funding once they have a complete report from staff.