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Jan. 18, 2022 | Tuesday
Local News
Work on stone barrier at Ball's Beach nearing completion
Ball’s Beach after shoreline protection work this year. (Richard Harley)

Construction work at Ball's Beach in Niagara-on-the-Lake is nearing completion.

The project saw a large rock groyne and "boulder beach" put in to protect the surrounding area from high water levels and erosion.

Brett Ruck, the town's environmental services supervisor, says the work is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. 

The only thing remaining is to put capstones on the groyne and to complete the walking trail along the shoreline, he told councillors during Monday's committee of the whole virtual meeting.

He said the rock groyne is designed so people can walk out onto it.

"We've actually placed rocks in there so they're more like a stepping stones," Ruck said, adding that the town has filled up some of the voids with clear stone, so people don't slip in between the rocks and get hurt.

People still have to take some precautions when out on the rocks, "because you know all those rocks are brand new they're not weathered, so they still have some pretty significant edging to them," he said.

Ruck wants people to be aware there are also rocks in the water at the base of the groyne, "so this is not something you just jump into now."

"We need to make people aware of that so that they understand that those are very, very large what we call tostones so that we don't lose the groyne at all," Ruck said.

"The boulder beach goes pretty well from the groyne, all the way up to that first residence to the north so that you can walk on it. It's very rounded stone, it's just awkward because it's so big ...  the whole point of the stone is to deter people from walking on it but that's not going to stop people from walking on it."

There is still some sandy beach, Ruck said.

"There's a little bit of a sandy beach area that we created with a walkway, stepping stone area down, I don't really want to call it steps or stairs, but it's more of a landscape feature to allow people to get down from the rock down onto the sand."

"You can already see sand starting to form in behind the groyne a little bit. It's a very calm section of water so people will be able to go in there quite easily."

Ruck said the trail work could potentially be started in the next couple of weeks. He said they're just waiting to verify the available funding and location of the trail.

"That will be seeded and all cleaned up between the trail and the beach," he said, adding the trail will be "considerably higher than what the ground was originally" to protect people and homes from the water.

"We're not going to need the barriers out there unless something crazy goes on, but it's got a nice flat surface for us to be able to put the barriers up if we ever need them," he said.

"The ground and the trail has been raised, so that it actually flows toward the water and not back into the park and we've put in some additional protection so that the homes in behind there don't get flooded on a regular basis."

He said there's still landscaping to be done on the park and decisions to be made about what's happening with the section that ends up at River Beach.

He said a "god awful" ditch down the centre of the park is no longer needed and instead the town will be creating drainage swale for water run-off in the area. "We're trying to make it more or park-like, less ditch-like."

"What we have been looking at is putting a small swale along the back edge of the park, so that the residences can drain into a swale so we get rid of the water, and any water that we have in there would just be kind of located are persuaded to go in a certain direction, we are going to have a catch basin to be able to put things in that we'll be able to utilize in the rain garden. So we'll be able to siphon the water from one location to another."

In response to a question from Coun. Allan Bisback about how wide the trail would be, Ruck said plans call for it to be about four to five feet wide. 

However, during construction it will be 10 to 12 feet wide temporarily as the stone base and cloth is laid down, but it won't be nearly that broad when completed.

He said the work on the trail will allow it to support weight of vehicles if the town needs to bring any in, "so it's not squashing the ground and tearing the trail up."

When Lord Mayor Betty Disero asked about potential parking at the beach, interim chief administrator Sheldon Randall said there have been discussions about parking, but that the town wants to get public feedback first.

"There have been so many changes over the years from what we initially planned out of that area that I think it would make sense that we get additional engagement from the public on what's going to make sense down there for everyone," Randall said.