Conception Bay breakwater suffers more damages following storm surge

·2 min read

Conception Bay South is facing another set of long and costly repairs to the inner harbour breakwater at Long Pond, after a surge this week tore through sections of the barrier, washing nearly 200 metres of it away and filling the channel with gravel debris.

Mayor Terry French, who surveyed the damage Wednesday afternoon, said that while the wall has been damaged before, it seems like it's happening more frequently now.

"This barachois has been there, like it is today, for decades and decades," said French. "I remember growing up as a kid and every blue moon you'd hear tell of some of the wall being washed away and it was a big deal — but now it seems like it's becoming more and more prevalent."

French said town engineers are already addressing the damage, but high winds are expected to continue and worsen well into Saturday.

In a statement released Thursday night, French advised residents to stay away from the area. The town is considering closing roads and blocking traffic to mitigate risk.

The breakwater was severely damaged this time last year after Snowmageddon, with repairs costing nearly $1.4 million and taking several months to finish.

Town aware of problems before surge

The repairs needed for the breakwater aren't just expensive for the town, but labour-intensive as well.

"You're not dealing with just taking a pipe out of ground, repairing it, and digging it back up," French said. "You need barges, you need weather to co-operate, and you need materials, crane availability."

For a couple of weeks now, said French, town officials have been aware of problems with the breakwater and had already begun surveying it before this week's surge.

The town has hired an engineering firm to assess the situation, but French said repairs will likely take a while. He hopes repairs will begin as early as next week, but said there's a lot that needs to be done first.

"We've got to find the contractor who has the ability to do this, we need the weather to co-operate, we need to find materials, particularly the armour stone, and then we need to find the money," said French.

While some commenters have pointed out that a larger stone breakwater should be installed, French says he's been told a larger stone breakwater should be installed, but the town would need assistance from the federal or provincial government for a project of that size.

But according to French it's not just the barachois that is taking a hit; some residents who live close to the shoreline are also seeing increased erosion damage.

"I speak to a lady quite regularly who has a house close to the ocean, who's basically losing her front lawn every day."

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