Cockburn Island marina will boast new breakwall, safer road

A growing rock pile at the Cockburn Island waterfront stands ready for use in a new marina break wall project next year. Cockburn Island had originally received funding for a project to fix and improve the safety of a potentially dangerous road in the community which will be completed this fall. As part of a second project, the township is using wasted rock from the road project to protects its marina from the North Channel winter ice, with the break wall project. The latter will take place next summer.

COCKBURN ISLAND—What started out as a major project to fix and improve the safety of a potentially dangerous road on Cockburn Island has seen township officials undertake a second project that will help guarantee the future of the marina on the Island.

“Prior to the pandemic we were approved for a significant government financial grant of about $850,000,” said Brent St. Denis, clerk-treasurer for Cockburn Island township. He explained, “we were provided this funding to do work on a road, which is a dangerous intersection near the village, which includes a blind curve and hill on the 12th concession and 15th sideroad. Then we realized that we had rock being taken out of a hill as part of the project that would be perfect for another project. So, at the suggestion of one of the councillors we expanded this to a second project, we are using the rock we are taking out of the hill from the road project to fix the break wall at the marina.”

“We will use the rock to fix the break wall to protect our marina which is wide open from the North Channel which is especially problematic in the winter,” continued Mr. St. Denis. “We needed a lot more rock for the break wall, and huge monster rocks for this project, the same as was used for instance on the town of Gore Bay break wall. Our road project is providing perfect rocks for that.”

“Could you imagine the cost if we had to haul in rocks from say Manitoulin Island or the North Shore for the break wall project?” said Mr. St. Denis. “And if we don’t do work on the break wall, let’s face it—the future of the marina and dock would be in jeopardy and it’s going to get worse. With the rising Great Lakes water levels, if we don’t protect our harbour, we might lose our marina in 20 years.”

Mr. St. Denis pointed out, “it was one of our council members who came up with the idea of using the rock from the road project for the break wall. So we asked our engineer, Tulloch Engineers, to look at the rock waste and what we need for the break wall and see if there was a match.”

“If we did the break wall project separate it would probably cost the township a couple million dollars,” continued Mr. St. Denis. “This is also a really neat recycling project, by recycling rock as we are, the project is costing us a fraction, probably one-third to one-quarter of what it would normally. This rock would usually go to the waste pile. Our contractor has been very cooperative, by hauling the big rock to the marina area, from the road project.”

“With the breakwater project to be done next year, it will add 100 years or an indefinite lifespan for our marina,” stated Mr. St. Denis. “And by doing the road project we are also probably saving lives by fixing a dangerous road.”

He explained the job was tendered out by Cockburn’s engineer Tulloch, to JI Enterprises. “They will turn this opportunity that was presented to us into a real success story.”

“The road project will be completed this fall,” said Mr. St. Denis. The road will be opened probably by mid-September and the break wall project will commence next summer.