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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Port Stanley Harbour Refinements

by Doug Harvey
Port Stanley Harbour Refinements

There's nothing better than a power outage to interfere with your daily routine. The cause of this unexpected intrusion was most likely caused by those strong south-westerly winds gusting up to 80 km/h pushing tree limbs into power lines. As seasons change, Fall always seems to bring out the worst possible severe weather that mother nature can muster up. This severe weather can also raise water levels in Kettle Creek, sometimes to the point of causing flash floods in the area. Living in close proximity to Kettle Creek, I have been fortunate enough to have a most perfect view for watching water levels change every time the wind howls or during a ice jam.

Today Sunday morning, October 27th, 2019 I watched Kettle Creek water levels rise and fall over a foot and a half with the highest level reaching a matching height that happened earlier in July of this year during the record Lake Erie high water levels. The problem with strong winds coming from any southern direction is that with the Port Stanley Harbour open from the south, waves will be pushed into the Harbour causing Harbour and Kettle Creek water levels to rise. The stronger the wind, the more water levels will rise! A similar situation happens during the spring ice melt when ice jams get created blocking water flow of Kettle Creek sometimes causing flash flood conditions.

Now recently storm conditions and rising Lake Erie lake levels have combined enough to create situations where damage to the harbour was caused by a fishing boat that got loose and then crashed into the lift bridge; and parts of the harbour seawall have been proven not to be high enough for keeping out all the rough water that gets created during these high wind conditions from a southern direction.

On Monday, July 22nd, on the agenda of a Central Elgin Council meeting was Report PW 31-19 - Harbour High Water Level Mitigation Measures which was prepared by Lloyd Perrin, Central Elgin's Director of Physical Services. After a round table discussion on the report it was then decided that a new 50 metre long breakwater be constructed across the harbour out from the west sea wall close to the Municipal boat ramp at a cost of $500,000 of which funding would come from the Harbour Divestiture Fund.

On Tuesday October 15th, 2019 at another Central Elgin Council meeting Lloyd Perrin indicated that staff are still working towards installing the new breakwater, but indicated that the Municipality would not be able to begin construction on the new breakwater this fall due to the special approvals required from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He also indicated that a decision on controlling movement of the fishing tugs in the harbour was forthcoming and that fix involved installing piles adjacent to the boats to help stop damage to the harbour seawall. The cost of the wooden utility poles is approximately $200 each and $500 for the installation, but for durability, a steel pipe option is our preference that we are currently investigating. The piles can all go in by the first part of November.

For years fishing boats have been docking in the Port Stanley Harbour to those attachments that are embedded in concrete, and it would seem that changing this method to a wooden pole or steel pipe piling would end up being a less secure method for safely docking a fishing boat in the harbour unless there was a problem with the embedded in concrete attachments:

  • With this new docking initiative will there be more or less docking spaces than we have now and will the plan take into consideration docking space for boats of all sizes ?

I also have questions about the proposed 50 metre long breakwater across the harbour:

  • How will this affect the cost of dredging ?
  • During the spring ice melt will we have flood control measures in the harbour similar to those in Port Bruce ?
  • Does this new breakwater take away the option of any new marina in the outer harbour ?

Last Updated: Monday, 28 October 2019 10:43:58 AM EST

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