GORDON/BARRIE ISLAND – Gordon/Barrie Island council will be investigating what can be done with an erosion of shoreline in an area of the municipality after concerns were raised by residents on Lighthouse Road.
“This issue is going to be front and centre all over the province,” stated Councillor John Turner at a Gordon/Barrie Island council meeting last week. “Water levels are high around the Great Lakes and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop. There are going to be infrastructure issues everywhere. Is the province putting in place any steps to help municipalities?”
This comes after Carrie Lewis, clerk for Gordon/Barrie Island Township informed council that, “we’ve had several people on Lighthouse Road complain about shoreline erosion in front of their properties. They are worried that in certain places, erosion is washing away the road, especially under the shoreline.” She told council one resident whose home is just past the water treatment plant has indicated he would be willing to make repairs to the shoreline if granted permission.
However, it was pointed out provincial permission would be required.
“Is the province taking any steps to help us?” asked Councillor Turner.
“No,” said Ms. Lewis. “I have made a few calls and work permits would need to be provided through the province, and with permission as well from the municipality.
Councillor Marian Hester pointed out, “if we are looking at a permit for only one area where the work needs to be done, if we allow this there could be a snowball effect and everyone else (along the Lighthouse Road) will want the same type of permission to carry out work on their shoreline.”
Councillor Turner said, “this is going to be a huge issue and not just for us here in our municipality. We need to be as proactive as possible.”
Individual property owners can apply to the province to undertake work on their shoreline, it was pointed out.
Reeve Lee Hayden said the whole shoreline needs to undergo a full assessment. “This is critical, and we need to deal with it as soon as possible after the ice is gone.”
“I would hope the province is going to be providing some assistance to municipalities,” said Councillor Turner. “Especially when something is of this large of a scope.”
“We are seeing pretty much unprecedented high water levels,” said Reeve Hayden. “It’s interesting that seven years ago the concern was low water levels, and now we are looking at high levels.”
“Several people have raised concerns (on Lighthouse Road) and we will have to monitor and assess in the spring as to what needs to be done and what we can and can’t do,” said Reeve Hayden, who pointed out approvals will have to come from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and probably the Ministry of the Environment as well.