Flooding ‘disintegrates’ back end of log chute
Reopening an ‘enormous undertaking,’ says Moffatt
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | June 22, 2017|
Don’t expect Hawk Lake’s Log Chute, which sustained serious damage from flooding in May, to be open this summer, says Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt.
“It won’t be enough for staff to just hammer a few boards back together,” she told councillors during a meeting June 15. “This was an enormous undertaking, and whatever undertaking we have to do going forward with this project, will be just as complex.”
The 220-foot long chute, built from hemlock timber, took six years to complete and cost more than $150,000. It was opened to the public in the summer of 2005.
Significant government funding was required, in addition to the $20,000 of in-kind labour and materials donated by the community. Another $26,000 was raised separately through donations.
“The back end has kind of disintegrated,” Moffatt said.
Trent Severn Waterway staff will have to put logs in the dam to stop the water from coming in long enough for the township to inspect the damaged chute more closely.
That step hasn’t happened yet.
“We can’t estimate the size and scope of the project until the inspection is done. It’s very weather, and water-level sensitive,” Moffatt said.
Councillors discussed the increase in extreme weather events, and whether or not the log chute will be re-engineered to accommodate for climate change.
The effects of climate change weren’t taken into consideration during the chute’s construction, said Coun. Brian Lynch.
“Are those water levels going to consistently rip this thing apart?” he asked.
Moffatt agreed the discussion around climate change will be crucial for planning ahead. She pointed to ongoing discussions between the township and the Coalition for Equitable Water Flow (CEWF) since the flooding in May. The Upward Trent Watershed Management Partnership, which is partnered with CEWF and six municipalities, are also involved in those conversations.
“We can accept that we’re getting our weather differently, but we shouldn’t have to accept a lot of the aftermath,” she said.
A staff report on the log chute says the site received approximately 30 visitors per day and 10,000 per year.
The financial spinoff is estimated at $400,000 per year.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.