By Pauline Kerr
Erosion along the shoreline has necessitated diverting funds from another project to conduct emergency repairs along the shoreline.
With buried sewer pipes and other infrastructure along Goderich St. threatened by recent storms, the project has become an urgent safety and environmental issue.
Mayor Anne Eadie said the problem is serious. “Erosion is happening in many areas.”
Adam Weishar, director of public works, said he’s seeing erosion problems all along the lakeshore. “We’ve already made repairs,” he said.
The Goderich St. project was included in this year’s capital budget. The plan was to protect approximately 180 meters. However, high water levels and storms have increased that to 570 metres.
Staff requested council’s support to proceed with measures to allow work to begin immediately. Because of the expanded scope of the work, additional funds are required.
Council gave unanimous support to the staff proposal that the Maple Street project in Tiverton be deferred until 2020 and the funds reallocated for emergency shoreline repairs.
Weishar presented a report to council explaining the situation, and the measures needed.
Weishar told council that in November 2019, staff reviewed the Goderich St. situation with B.M. Ross and Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, and decided on a capital project to address erosion along the lakeshore to protect infrastructure “sooner rather than later;” the area of concern stretched from the end of the guiderail south approximately 180 metres.
During the fall of 2019, Lake Huron was 225 millimetres below the record high of 1986 and 400 mm higher than in 2018. Overall, the water was about 900 mm higher than the historic mean level.
Since the fall, lake levels rose another 300 mm, and current predictions are that the water will be higher this summer than they were last year. The amount of rainfall remains an unknown.
The higher lake levels and storms during April (especially April 18) resulted in the road closure along the Goderich St. corridor. The erosion is now threatening a much longer length of shoreline. There are now concerns about the entire 570 metres from Bruce Avenue to the southern limits of the boundary with Huron-Kinloss.
The infrastructure in the corridor, besides the road itself, includes a large diameter sanitary sewer and a large diameter sewage forcemain. Failure to protect this area now will result in higher costs, and potential environmental damage.
The lake has further impacted areas at the end of Kincardine Avenue, Broadway Street and along Sunset Drive which has resulted in repairs either completed or soon to be completed, using funds from the department’s operating budget, said Weishar in his report.
He drew council’s attention to a similar situation in the Town of Goderich. That was resolved by contracting with a company on a direct hire basis. Because of the urgent need to protect municipal infrastructure, Weishar said in his report that staff and B. M. Ross would like to take the same approach and hire a local contractor to complete the work on a time and material basis.
Weishar told council that he would like to amend that particular recommendation. “I’m not comfortable doing it without tenders.” The project would take approximately 12 weeks, depending on weather. The work would likely begin in mid-June.
Said Weishar in the report, “The project will include placement of large armour stone that will be sourced from the Owen Sound area. The budget for the original area amounted to $375,000. With the expanded scope, a revised project estimate of $1,315,000 is required to fund the works resulting, in a shortfall of $940,000.
He proposed postponing the Maple St. reconstruction project, which was to have taken place over two years, and do the entire Maple St. project in 2021. Cost of the Maple St. project would have been $860,000. Doing it in one contract in a single construction year would realize savings and minimize the impact to the neighbourhood. He told council the engineering would still be done – the only thing being deferred would be the construction.
Coun. Randy Roppel said, “This is a safety hazard. It’s right to do this. But I also like the way of handling the Tiverton project all at once. I agree this is the best method to address the issue.”
Coun. Bill Stewart added, “We need to spend the money on the shoreline. I can support this.”
Coun. Gerry Glover suggested that Weishar reach out personally to the Tiverton people about deferring the Maple. St. project; Weishar said he already had it on his list.
The mayor said, “I think we have a good solution here.” When she called for the vote, all members of council were in favour of the staff recommendation.
By Pauline Kerr