News Local

Marina breakwater repaired

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Zack Coughlan, a student with Algonquin College's pre-apprenticeship construction trades program, works on the boardwalk atop the breakwater at the Pembroke Marina on Friday. Students and members of the Ministry of Natural Resources Junior Ranger program helped to rebuild the breakwater, which had been heavily damaged by erosion.

Zack Coughlan, a student with Algonquin College's pre-apprenticeship construction trades program, works on the boardwalk atop the breakwater at the Pembroke Marina on Friday. Students and members of the Ministry of Natural Resources Junior Ranger program helped to rebuild the breakwater, which had been heavily damaged by erosion.

An unexpected bump in plans has occurred for the waterfront boardwalk project, but efforts have been ongoing to correct it.

On Tuesday August 4, the team of 20 Algonquin College students from the pre-apprenticeship construction trades program removed Boards #1-400, the portion of the boardwalk which ran along the breakwater. This work revealed how the breakwater itself had been badly eroded over time, and needed to be rebuilt.

Fred Blackstein, who headed up the waterfront project from its very beginnings and is a member of the waterfront advisory committee, said the removal of the boards revealed major erosion to the breakwater beneath them had taken place in the past 15 years, resulting from wind, waves, microbursts and excessive water levels.

“We had expected some erosion repair would be necessary, but the extent of the deterioration was surprising,” he said. “We didn't expect anything of this magnitude.”

Blackstein said this erosion has no relation to the boardwalk; instead, what the boardwalk did do was "hide" the problem for a decade.

He said he has been in constant contact with both Doug Sitland, the city's operations manager, and Ron Conroy, parks and facilities supervisor, as they planned and rebuilt the boardwalk. After consultation with all parties and helpful input from retired staff of Jp2g, the decision was made to rectify the erosion situation.

“The breakwater is crucial to the marina operation and that portion of the boardwalk could not be rebuilt without remedial action,” Blackstein said.

“We had the team of 20 from Algonquin College bolstered by 10 Ministry of Natural Resources Junior Rangers, working with rakes, shovels wheelbarrows and hand, all day, to rebuild the breakwater. We asked for, and received, emergency type response from Siegel Sand and Gravel who delivered over 100 cubic yards of stone.”

Blackstein said thanks to the exceptional work by the city's works department loader/operator and the 30 young workers, the situation was quickly rectified, and work resumed on the boardwalk. Most of this had been reconstructed by Friday afternoon.

He said the situation put the project a day or more behind schedule, and he will likely bring a few Algonquin students back from their scheduled break next week and offer a small "honorarium" to those that give up their holiday in order to ensure the boardwalk is completed by Aug. 13.

Blackstein said despite the set back, he doesn't expect the impact of it to overly affect the overall project.

“I expect we'll still not fully use the contingency fund set aside by the city for the project,” he said, which had been set aside just in case of unexpected expenses such as this one.

When Blackstein introduced the project to city council in May, he asked that $25,000 be saved as a contingency fund for the $160,000 project, which was completed using volunteer labour and donations of material and expertise. Council agreed, with any needed funds coming out of the parkland development reserve.

Blackstein said he wanted to thank Siegel Sand and Gravel for quickly providing the materials for the breakwater, and Travelodge for providing everyone working on it with lunch on Thursday. He said it is further evidence of the community's enthusiasm for the project.

“There are no problems, there are only challenges,” he said.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

stephen.uhler@sunmedia.ca