Work ends on the protective stone wall of Kelso Beach Park


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A $ 150,000 project to build a wall to protect the shoreline of Kelso Beach comes in a year in which record water levels and wave activity have caused erosion, water washout. trails and flooding in Owen Sound Park.


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The new protective stone wall begins at the park’s storm drainage channel on the west side and extends along approximately 60 meters of the shore of Owen Sound Bay on either side of the pedestrian bridge of the channel.

Owen Sound-based Blue Water Landscaping & Construction began work on September 30 and finished on Friday.

“We have so many great events like Summerfolk there so it’s great to be able to maintain the shore and keep it from getting carried away and keep the park in good shape so that a lot of people can use it. “Mayor Ian Boddy said in an interview, just as the final cleanup was taking place.

Water levels in the Lake Michigan-Huron basin, which includes Georgian Bay, broke average high monthly records, set in the mid-1980s, in each of the first eight months of 2020, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Water. level summaries. The water level in the basin was about two inches from the record high in September.

These record highs, coupled with wave action, have forced the city to close parts of its waterfront trail at Kelso Beach Park several times over the past year.

Following a cuttlefish in late July, which washed away or buried part of the path under sand and debris and caused water to accumulate in the park, the city also closed the amphitheater, the picnic pavilion. nique and part of the seafront.

Dennis Kefalas, director of public works and engineering, said high water levels have also eroded the shoreline of Kelso Beach and caused flooding in some areas.


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Water has collected in the amphitheater, he said, which serves as the main stage for the annual Summerfolk Music & Crafts festival. This event did not take place this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the council had set aside funds in the 2020 capital budget for the retaining wall, which aims to prevent further erosion.

He said the contractor had created two areas inside the retaining wall – one to the south and one to the north of the drain channel – where a sandy shore still gradually descends into the water.

“We didn’t want to completely cut off the beach so that we couldn’t walk directly into the water. It is easier for young children and people with disabilities to get into the water this way, ”he said.

“So we had to try to find a balance between keeping what would be a beach and making sure we didn’t lose the beach due to erosion.”

Adam Parsons, manager of parks and open spaces, said the beach area just north of the old Kelso Beach washroom is also unaffected by the retaining wall.

“Part of this project is to protect the beach area. The comprehensive plan will help collect sand and allow the beach to rebuild, ”he said.

The iconic Summerfolk tree, meanwhile, remains east of the retaining wall and its base is still surrounded by water. The city does not intend to interfere with the tree, he said.

“It’s in its natural environment. It is a willow tree and it has a habit of being wet and cycles of high and low water. So he’s really going to go through his natural process, that’s the best way I can tell, ”he said.


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In addition to the retaining wall, which is made of Ledgerock stone, Kefalas said the city also plans to complete some leveling improvements in Kelso this fall to address the issue of standing water in the amphitheater.

The city will also fill in some low-lying areas prone to flooding and create a “spillway” to redirect any water that passes through the retaining wall – during a storm or cuttlefish, for example – to drain into the bay. .

Boddy said he hopes the work will prevent future flooding and erosion problems in the park.

“I think we will probably be in good shape, but we will wait for the reports afterwards,” he said.

“We hope we’re at a high water peak and then it starts to drop again, but we need to protect our shoreline when the water is this high.”



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