Port elgin breakwater closed for assessment ’Extreme’ measures for public safety
The deteriorating “deplorable” condition of the breakwater at Port Elgin Main Beach harbour forced the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to temporarily close and barricade the north and south sections to pedestrians as it conducts an engineering assessment of the concrete structure.
“These extreme measures are for the safety of all users of the breakwater ” Jayne Jagelewski, the Town’s Director of Community Services, said in an updatetotheTown’scommittee of the whole Aug. 28 meeting.
Almost two years after approaching DFO about the required repairs, and eight months after the Town of Saugeen Shores implored DFO to make improvements to the breakwater, DFO informed the Town it will assess the breakwaters. The south leg was built in 1900 and extended in 1904. In 1930-31 a 152.4-m portion of it was reconstructed with a concrete super-structure on top of the existing timber sub-structure.
Although owned by DFO, the Town manages the breakwater aspartofitsharbouragreement that calls for Ottawa to make any improvements.
Earlier Jagelewski told councillors that while the breakwater was not built for pedestrians, its popularity for “quiet enjoyment or water sports is paramount”, and noted the Town’s Waterfront Advisory Committee recommended making the necessary repairs or closing the breakwater to the public.
Jagelewski said the closure is temporary as DFO looks for short-and long-term solutions. She anticipated the assessment will be completed by the end of March, and then shared with the Town and Council.
Jagelewski noted they were clear with the DFO that it is not the Town’s responsibility to enforce or monitor the breakwater closure.
No word from the DFO or Town when barricades will be installed.