Lake Huron’s ferocious beauty

A still-open Lake Huron in late January wraps a stand of trees in an overcoat of ice on Sarnia's shoreline.A still-open Lake Huron in late January wraps a stand of trees in an overcoat of ice on Sarnia's shoreline.

Journal Staff

Lake Huron is winning the battle of land and sea being waged on Sarnia’s shoreline, and doing it with poetic grandeur.

Strong north winds and powerful waves shortly after Christmas ripped out another section of steel seawall north of Lakeshore Road and east of Telfer Road.

Because the lake has yet to ice over, freezing spray is sculpting dramatic and sometimes beautiful formations even as the shoreline gets pounded.

Two weeks ago, city hall had armour stone trucked in from the Bruce Peninsula and positioned in the latest breach as a temporary fix, at a cost of $60,000.

The engineering department hopes in future to reuse the big stones in a more permanent barricade if and when money becomes available.

The newest break occurred just west of a much larger seawall failure that washed away 3,000 tonnes of shoreline last year near the mouth of the Cull Drain, as well as a couple of smaller washouts.

Unfortunately, high water levels and the lack of ice is allowing waves to pummel the shore and “making additional erosion a very likely reality,” city engineer Andre Morin warned in a new council report.

A winged figure conjured up from lake spray adorns this ice-covered tree. Glenn Ogilvie

A winged figure conjured up from lake spray adorns this ice-covered tree.

Shortly after Christmas high waves opened another breach in the city's shoreline protection east of the Cull Drain Bridge. The damage has since been temporarily repaired with large stone blocks and backfilled.

Shortly after Christmas high waves opened another breach in the city’s shoreline protection east of the Cull Drain Bridge. The damage has since been temporarily repaired with large stone blocks and backfilled.

A backhoe from Van Bree Drainage and Bulldozing backfills a repaired section of the Lake Huron Shoreline just east of the Cull Drain Bridge.

A backhoe from Van Bree Drainage and Bulldozing backfills a repaired section of the Lake Huron Shoreline just east of the Cull Drain Bridge.

Winds and waves spray combined with cold temperatures to rime these tree on the Lake Huron shoreline in Sarnia.

Wind and spray combine with cold temperatures to rime these tree beside Lake Huron in Sarnia.

The Lake Huron shoreline between Telfer and Brigden roads is some of the most vulnerable to erosion in Sarnia. Parts of the old Lakeshore Road right-of-way, seen here near the mouth of the Cull Drain, have already been swallowed up by the lake, city hall says.

The Lake Huron shoreline between Telfer and Brigden roads is some of the most vulnerable to erosion in Sarnia. Parts of the old Lakeshore Road right-of-way, seen here near the mouth of the Cull Drain, have already been swallowed up by the lake, city hall says.