A shore thing: water plant frontage to be rebuilt this winter

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has provided $300,000 to protect the St. Clair River shoreline at the Lambton Area Water Supply System (LAWSS). Matching funds will be provided by LAWSS to complete the work. Glenn Ogilvie

Journal Staff

The shoreline that rims the Lambton Area Water Supply System plant is getting a facelift.

Stepped armour stone like that at the adjacent Point Edward waterfront will be installed from the public washrooms on LAWSS property to the lighthouse at the foot of Fort Street.

Some existing concrete blocks that have shifted where Lake Huron entered the St. Clair River will be reused to reduce the overall cost.

“The shoreline protection right now (consist of) a lot of concrete blocks. But those have been installed way back when and there’s a lot of voids that have been formed,” said Girish Sankar, water resources engineer with the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority.

“It’s a public safety issue and also … we want to offer the best protection for (the water plant).

Ontario is contributing $300,000 with matching funds coming from LAWSS, which is jointly owned by six area municipalities, including Sarnia, Point Edward and St. Clair Township.

Construction is expected to begin in January and end by spring.

Water has been getting in beneath the existing blocks and causing some to shift and tilt.

The problem became obvious after the remains of Hurricane Sandy battered Sarnia in October of 2012, when wind gusts to 121 km/h whipped up mountainous waves, uprooted hundreds of trees and caused millions of dollars in damages.

LAWSS general manager Susan MacFarlane said a ledge is planned to separate the stonework from the asphalt pathway used by pedestrians and cyclists.

The beach facing the lake won’t be affected, she added.

The work will be done over the winter when fewer people visit the waterfront. Tendering begins this month.

The stonework is an environmentally friendly option, Sankar added.

“Armour stones are taken from nature – it’s not man-made – and (we are) giving it back to nature.”