Niagara-on-the-Lake’s historic Fort Mississauga is getting another upgrade — to the tune of $6 million.
Parks Canada announced the funding Friday, which will be used to build a 500-metre section of breakwall to protect the land near the fort from increased shoreline erosion.
The job will take about two years to complete.
No work will be done on the fort’s tower but deteriorated earthworks around the site will be shored up and the existing shoreline walkway will be extended along the perimeter of the NOTL Golf Club, Parks Canada spokesperson Julia Grcevic said.
The project, awarded to Rankin Construction of St. Catharines, means most of the tree canopy will be removed along the Lake Ontario shoreline parallel to the first fairway at the golf club.
This is the final phase of breakwall construction along the shore, after 600 metres of protection and walkway was earlier built along the western edge of the golf club, which leases the land from Parks Canada.
Before the earlier work was completed, many members of the golf club expressed concerns about the loss of trees.
However, the changes allayed those fears because they resulted in much-improved and somewhat spectacular views of the lake and Toronto skyline.
Shoreline erosion is caused in part by more frequent and severe storms and high-water levels due to climate change on the Great Lakes.
“These measures will ensure public safety, safeguard historic artifacts along the property, and protect Parks Canada-administered lands leased by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club,” Parks Canada said in announcing the project.
The money is part of a $557 million infrastructure investment announced by the federal government in 2022.
The earlier phase of the project also included the installation of the shoreline walking trail and a boardwalk to access the Fort Mississauga tower and earthworks.
The fort itself has also been restored since 2019, as part of a $7.3 million infrastructure project.
Parks Canada said the shoreline has “many non-native and invasive tree and shrub species with root systems that damage archeological resources within the earthwork fortification and the surrounding grounds.”
The agency also said there are trees and large shrubs that are falling or at risk of falling into the water as the shoreline erodes.
“Parks Canada will remove this vegetation to support the breakwall construction and then plant native grasses, selected for their minimal maintenance and water requirements.”
The agency has promised that for every tree removed during the work it will plant two new native species trees or shrubs in the area.
Preparation work on the new phase of the project has begun, Grcevic said.
Shoreline work can only happen at certain times of the and may pause during fish spawning or bird migration seasons, she said.
“Parks Canada is committed to the protection of wildlife and aquatic habitat,” she said.
The total federal investment for the shoreline work, including the previously completed walking path and vegetation work, is $10.4 million.
Chris Bittle, parliamentary secretary for the minister of housing, infrastructure and communities, said the government is investing in Fort Mississauga “to ensure we give our past a future.”