• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Essa moving forward on river erosion plan

In Essa
Nov 25th, 2013

By Brad Pritchard Alliston Herald  November 25 2013

ESSA – Essa council has approved a plan that will fix an erosion problem along a portion of the Nottawasaga River close to homes on Nottawasaga Drive and Brown’s Line in Angus. The decision was made after council received an update on the erosion hazard study it enacted last year.

John Paris of Parish Geomorphic Ltd., the firm heading up the study, gave council a basic outline of the preferred option in his report to best solve the erosion issue. The basic overview includes sculpting the river at variable widths to allow the river to handle higher flow levels.

A shallow floodplain relief channel would also be created to ease the flow pressure where the river makes a hairpin turn, which Parish said will act as a shortcut for the water and cause less erosion along the river banks. It also includes the option to create a protective stone wall along the main river channel to provide further stability if the initial fixes aren’t effective enough. Parish said this option is the most balanced approach to fixing the erosion issue in regards to its effectiveness, environmental impact and cost. “It’s a combination of working with the river and letting nature take its course,” he said. “It’s also a solution that can be phased in over time.”

The total estimated cost to complete the project is $336,810, with an additional $300,000 to be set aside if the stone wall is needed. The report found that homes threatened most by the river erosion include those on Nottawasaga Drive and Brown’s Line, though some lots on Nadmarc Court are also at risk. None of the homes are facing an immediate threat.

Parish said he’s been working with various agencies to design the plan, including the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. To move forward with the next phase of the project, Parish said there will be another 30-day public review period before passing along the application to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Realistically he said it could take six months before all the approvals are in place.

Mayor Terry Dowdall said it was important the township take a proactive approach to solving the erosion problem. “It’s great to see you were able to work in partnership with those other agencies, hopefully that will bring the cost down for the taxpayers, so that’s a good news story,” he said. It’s also proposed the township consider developing a fish and geomorphic monitoring program to measure the effectiveness of the restoration work over the coming years.

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