Staff has made a number of recommendations on proposed safety enhancements for Station Beach, stemming from a delegation that addressed council on the matter earlier this year.
Topping the list of items to be implemented for the 2021 season is repairs to the north and south piers.
This must be done before the piers can be reopened to the public. Both piers are presently closed, and both have deficiencies that require attention.
The reinforced concrete slab of the south pier is no longer structurally reliable for supporting normal pedestrian loads because of the deterioration of the support framing. The recommendation is to fill the voids with a low-pressure grout, and to patch-repair the deck surface and restore some of the safety ladders.
The north pier is in better condition structurally and is deemed safer for normal pedestrian traffic; however, it has been noted that the concrete spalls should be repaired along with the safety ladders. There are also some areas of deck deterioration that should be repaired to restore the original strength and to reduce tripping hazards.
Staff will work with BM Ross to have the repairs completed. The work will cost $210,000 which will come from the contingency reserve fund.
The installation of a pier railing will be discussed following completion of repairs.
Staff also recommended updating signage, including showing that there is an AED (automated external defibrillator) at the Kincardine Marina office.
Recommendations had included placing an AED at the marina or fish cleaning station, but staff determined a second machine is not required.
A no parking area was recommended for the area between the boardwalk and boat launch below the south pier. Although it’s a popular area for watching the sunset, it blocks first responders should there be an emergency.
A number of other safety measures were recommended for 2022; these will be discussed further, later this year.
Among the recommendations are a rescue board to be placed on the pier. Staff has concerns about theft, as well as who would be trained to use the boards for a water rescue.
A beach warning light would require staff to work with NPX regarding testing, inspections and liability issues.
The EMILY remote controlled rescue device would require discussions with rescue agencies regarding who would use the device and what training would be required.
After consultation with legal counsel, staff did not recommend implementing a beach patrol or lifeguards.
When there is no lifeguard, the duty of care is to provide signs or safety devices to keep the beach reasonably safe.
Having lifeguards at the beach opens up the municipality to liability. There are currently no staff certified for waterfront lifeguarding. Decisions would have to be made about the number of lifeguards needed, what sections of beach would be guarded and when, and about closing the beach if no lifeguards were available. Concerns were also expressed about the safety of employees putting their lives in danger while guarding the waterfront.
Staff are currently developing signage that would indicate where a person requiring assistance is located, for example, at Zone B.
Educational messaging on municipal websites about such things as rip currents, designated swimming areas, and the location of AEDs, will target as many residents and tourists as possible.
Other municipal beaches including Inverhuron Beach and Sunset Beach are being looked at, in addition to Station Beach.