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Landowners Want Breakwalls, Dredging at Cull Drain

Posted on May 4, 2017

By Troy Shantz, The Sarnia Journal

Sarnia has hired an engineering firm to review a proposal that would see the mouth of the Cull Drain dredged, its concrete bridge abutments removed and a stone breakwall built one-quarter of a kilometre out into Lake Huron.

A group of local landowners petitioned the city last fall to have the waterway designated under the Drainage Act as a way to improve the drainage on farmland covering a large swath of Sarnia-Lambton.

The landowners’ goal is to remove a perceived “bottleneck” at the mouth of the Cull Drain, which is the outlet for 75% of Sarnia’s municipal drains and most of its storm sewers.

“That’s what the big issue is — the amount of water that is handled in that drain and the small drains that run into it,” said Bob Griffin, a Sarnia resident and one of 11 petitioners.

Runoff drains into the lake there from parts of St. Clair, Enniskillen and Plympton-Wyoming.

Concept drawings prepared by Griffin indicate stone groins extending into Lake Huron from both sides of the creek mouth. One is 250 feet (76 metres) long on the east side, and the other 650 feet (260 metres) on the west side.

The shorter breakwall would allow waves to deposit sand on the existing beach and not in the creek outlet, said Griffin, 74.

The longer one would protect the river mouth from northwest winds.

“(If you) have the rock formation far enough out it breaks the waves and drops the sand before it gets into the outlet,” he said.

Such improvements would also give small boaters a safe place to wait out storms and easily access the land, he added.

“We can create a bay, at a nominal fee, if the governments are ready and willing to help us. Plus, we save our beach and we allow water to drain properly.”

The price tag for such a project isn’t known.

City Hall staff has been gathering information for R. Dobbin Engineering Inc., the firm preparing the engineering report, said Dave Moores, the city’s drainage superintendent.

“We’re hiring an engineer to actually do that and figure out, ‘is there a problem?’”

Moores was hesitant when asked if the landowner’s drainage complaint has validity.

“It’s in a preliminary stage right now,” he said, adding it could take years to complete the report.

Steve Loxton is with the citizen group Friends of the Cull Drain Bridge, which spearheaded a preservation effort to remove the historic bridge from its concrete abutments and store it in Mike Weir Park.

Removing the existing bridge base, as called for by the landowners, might make installation of a pedestrian crossing over the creek even more difficult.

“Again, this comes down to a question of, what is the intention of the city in regards to a crossing there?” Loxton asked.

“The neighbours have always been strongly in favour of getting a crossing in there. It makes sense to put a crossing in there.”

Source: The Sarnia Journal

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