By Chad Ingram
Published Aug. 31 2017
Algonquin Highlands township will await a report from its insurance provider after the damaged Hawk Lake Log Chute was inspected on Friday Aug. 25.
The log chute sustained significant damage during heavy flooding in May and an insurance adjuster along with a structural engineer and other experts visited the site last week.
“Some of the cradles have been torn away with the power of the water” said Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt who was present for the inspection. “Some of the iron rods have just been bent over as if they were pin ties or something. Lots of shattered wood.”
In her pre-political life Moffatt oversaw the reconstruction of the log chute in the early 2000s. It was a total recreation of the structure that has existed at the site since 1861. During the logging boom of the 19th century the log chute was used to pass timber
from the Hawk lakes into the Kennisis River which flows into Halls Lake where a sawmill once existed.
It is unclear at this point whether the chute will be repaired or whether it will need to be reconstructed all over again.
Moffatt was reluctant to estimate how much such a project might cost since last time around so much of the project was completed by volunteers.
“There was never really a true accounting” she said.
The work to repair/replace the log chute will need to be engineered and tendered. While Moffatt is hoping project costs will be covered through the township’s insurance if not she said it will be a project that will need to be fundraised for.
“I would happily take that on all over again” she said. “It was amazing how the community embraced that project.”
Since the chute was damaged in the spring Moffatt said she’s already had community members volunteering to do fundraising work.
As for a timeline it is unclear at this point how long it will be before the chute is repaired/replaced. The project will require permits from the upper levels of government and construction periods will be affected by the fact the log chute is part of the feeder system for the Trent Severn Waterway.
Moffatt said that hopefully reconstruction work will be done in such a way as to provide the log chute with more longevity as more flooding is anticipated in the future due to climate change.
The Hawk Lake Log Chute is the last of its kind in Ontario.