Minden Hills is working through the budget process to move forward with repairs to the flood damaged areas of the boardwalk.
Community services department head Mark Coleman wrote in an email he will recommend the township spend upwards of $50000 to repair flood damage caused in 2017 and 2019 such as “setting [the] structure back onto footings and securing – from Invergordon to the ‘T.’”
These repairs which will be part of the 2020 budget and be performed during the winter require low water and frozen ground to use heavy equipment and mud mats and will be executed by a contractor as determined by the request for proposal process. The boardwalk will be temporarily closed during the work.
Mayor Brent Devolin said before the email from Coleman “You have to do them in the budget cycle we can but obviously I’d like it repaired definitely ahead of next season because really once we get snow we don’t get much traffic through there so I mean [the] sooner the better.”
He adds this will be influenced by Coleman’s report which includes particulars related to finances and the process to decide on a contractor.
Anyone walking the boardwalk will have noticed individual boards replaced and marked.
During 2018/2019 there were 100 boards on the boardwalk marked by township staff. Seventy have been replaced to date Coleman said. Replacements are “ongoing weekly” by staff. No closures are expected with this work. Part of the delay with maintenance work has been unavoidable.
Coleman said his department has experienced a backlog of work because there have been “ongoing” staffing shortages the past two years and “wet springs setting us back.”
Devolin said this is just the lifecycle of the hemlock boards on the boardwalk. He hasn’t considered alternate material types for the decking.
“Do I want to see concrete or steel or any of those types of things … ? No I don’t think it fits in with the environment. A natural product in a natural environment so I think it fits” he said.
He adds the hemlock used for the boardwalk is native to the area and “stands up relatively well in conditions that can be wet.” Historically he said hemlock has been used for railway ties demonstrating its durability.
“Future capital maintenance of the aging boardwalk will increase in terms of decking replacement to be considered in [the] 2020 budget” Coleman said.
Added to the boardwalk and Riverwalk repair plans the township is considering decking replacement at the town’s docks seasonal shrub bed maintenance and “retaining walls replacement near [the] Bobcaygeon Road bridge [which] will likely be tied in with the rehabilitation of the bridge” including the maintenance/removal of dead and hazardous trees by Hydro One or contractors Coleman said.
A few weeks ago the logger sculpture on Invergordon Avenue had fallen over and a passerby posted images to social media. It was subsequently removed.
It’s unknown what will happen to it as “review and maintenance of sculptures along Riverwalk are to be determined” Coleman said. The timbers that have deteriorated in the 14 log benches along the Riverwalk are to be replaced this autumn he adds.
Devolin offered this when asked about the sculpture: “The question is … is it something that can be done quickly and repaired or is it something we have to get the artist or somebody else with specialized skills to do it.”