Town of Gore Bay applies for funds to repair boardwalk

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GORE BAY – The Town of Gore Bay will be applying for funding to repair the boardwalk, and instead of looking at other options that would require more costs and study, they have agreed with a helical pile (screw pile) option spanning the entire portion of the boardwalk to be repaired.

“So, we would able to do the whole thing for $128,000?” asked Councillor Jack Clark, at a special meeting of council last Friday evening.

“And it would be very much what we have had in place in the past, aesthetically,” said Mayor Dan Osborne.

Town treasurer Michael Lalonde presented a brief report to council looking at what the situation is now, how to fix it, and the options that can be considered to repair the boardwalk from Water Street near the splash pad to the east side of water street.

“The foundations for the boardwalks under discussion were installed in the 1980s,” said Mr. Lalonde. “The original foundations were Douglas fir posts pounded into the ground. The boardwalk deck was replaced as part of the entire boardwalk refurbishment in 2017. Due to water level changes and the effect of ice pressure on the foundations specifically in the creek bed areas, the boardwalks in the two spans listed above (splash pad to Smith Park, and Smith Park to water street) were compromised during the winters of 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 which necessitated the removal of portions of these sections.”

“From my research there are three areas of concern for this project,” said Mr. Lalonde. “The first is the repair of the boardwalk structure up to the creeks. The second area is the design and installation of bridge spans that would cross the creeks. The third area is the connection between the bridges and the walkways.”

“Although there are areas of this boardwalk structure that may be structurally sound enough to continue to be used, it is recommended that the entire foundation structure be replaced. There are two options that will be discussed. One is a helical pile system and the other is the use of riprap,” said Mr. Lalonde. 

“The connection of the bridge structure to the boardwalk appears to be the most challenging to identify the best solution,” he continued. “The concern is to ensure that the appropriate structure is installed to withstand the weight of the bridge and the impacts of the ice. In discussion with engineering experts, they identified this as the area that will require the most engineering.”

Mr. Lalonde pointed out the area being discussed has been identified in the Land Registry as marshland and has protection under various environmental legislation. The work completed in 2017 avoided any environmental issues by replacing only the out of water sections. This project will require a permit and an environmental review. It is unclear the extent of the environmental review based on the fact that he town is not creating something new but repairing and an existing structure.

“As was shown during the presentation to public works, there is significant interest in the repairing of the capability to have a continuous boardwalk including a structure over the marshland and creek to allow accessible access to residents and visitors. The presentation required that the boardwalk sections be put back at the same locations as they currently exist.”

There are various options that are considered when it comes to dealing with the three areas of concern identified while also taking into consideration the wishes of the community. Each of these would have varying costs, environment impacts and community concerns, Mr. Lalonde told council.

For the boardwalk, council decided to go with option one: the board that crosses the creeks could be replaced completely from end to end with a helical pile system. This would be achieved by installing the helical piles in close proximity to the existing piles and moving the existing boardwalk (2017) to the new foundation. It was noted there may be some concern about the aesthetics of the helical pile system but the environmental impact of this solution is less than alternatives. In addition to the decreased environmental impact, the summer foliage in the area will quickly cover up much of the structure. The advantage of the helical pile system is the work can be done during the winter months, council was told. The cost of the helical piles (installed) would be $33,000, boardwalk installation $15,000 for a total of $48,000.

As for three bridge options presented to council they opted to extend the helical pile system of the boardwalk across the creeks with no actual bridges. Mr. Lalonde pointed out this would require helical piles to be installed in the creek itself. The cost of this option would be $20,000.

Council was also informed that engineering costs will be $60,000. The entire project cost has been estimated at $128,000.

“So we would be looking at basically a flat extension across the boardwalk (with no bridges)?” asked Councillor Paulie Nodecker. “It would not be as pretty as an arching bridge.” 

“I agree aesthetically it might not be as nice, but for people with mobility issues, it would be better,” said Councillor Kevin Woestenenk.

“The helical piles would look similar to what we have now aesthetically,” said Mayor Osborne.

It was explained by town clerk Stasia Carr, Trillium Foundation funding is available for between $5,000-$150,000 should the municipality be approved for a grant. 

Council approved the submission of an application to the Trillium Fund under the COVID-19 Resilient Communities Fund for the repair of the waterfront boardwalk trail. Further, the helical pile option spanning the entire portion of the boardwalk to be repaired be applied for under this grant.