Could Oro-Medonte sink almost $1M into new wharf at Shanty Bay?

Renew, replace or remove?

Those are the options Oro-Medonte Township is facing when it comes to the wharf in Shanty Bay.

Renewing the wharf will cost almost $500,000.

Replacing it will cost slightly more than $900,000.

Removing it isn’t recommended, but if that is the direction the municipality decides to move, the township could install a seasonal dock, or it could sell the land and invest about $800,000 into other community projects.

Whatever decision is made, it should be made based on input from residents, according to Roz Llewellyn, manager of community services for Oro-Medonte.

“Given that the continued use of the existing structure is acceptable in the interim until a more permanent solution is implemented, it is recommended that a community consultation process be undertaken in 2024 to review the options available and finalize a recommended approach.” Llewellyn wrote in her report to council about wharf rehabilitation.

Coun. David Clark applauded the recommendation and added it’s vital to get residents' input on a decision that could see the township invest almost $1 million in a project that may not benefit everyone in Oro-Medonte.

At the township’s most recent council meeting, Clark questioned whether the community gets a million dollars' worth of benefit out of the wharf.

“I live there and I love it, but at the same time we need to look at it from a township perspective. Those who live close to it and benefit from it need to have their voices understood," he said.

“At the end of the day, as a community, we need to figure out what to do with it."

In October 2021, Tatham Engineering completed a review on both the Shanty Bay wharf and the Hawkestone wharf to determine their condition, as well as provide recommendations for repair/renewal and associated timelines.

Tatham visually examined both wharf structures and reviewed the structural integrity of the elements above water within an "arm's reach."

Gal con Marine also performed an investigative dive, which included both audio and video recording of the subsurface elements.

The engineering assessment determined the Shanty Bay wharf is in poor condition and the wharf in Hawkestone is in fair condition. Both need repairs, according to Llewellyn’s report.

“Due to the advanced concrete deterioration, as well as the condition of the underlying wood crib structure, any significant repairs to extend the useful life of the existing components would be cost-prohibitive,” she wrote of the Shanty Bay wharf.

However, Llewellyn also noted there are options.

The township could consider renewal.

According to the engineering report, Llewellyn said the structure could be encapsulated in perimeter sheet piling and stabilized by injecting voids with high slump grout. The cost for renewal would be about $475,000.

Additionally, there is work required on the stairs and open drainage channel. It’s recommended that this work be done at the same time. It would cost an additional $120,000.

“If this option was to be considered, a more detailed review should be undertaken,” Llewellyn said.

Replacing the wharf would require the removal and disposal of the existing wharf, as well as reconstruction. As with the renewal option, the stairs and open drainage channel should be addressed at the same time.

Estimated costs would be $920,000 and include removal/disposal ($200,000), stairs/drainage ($120,000) and reconstruction ($600,000).

The report also included the option of decommissioning the Shanty Bay wharf.

“This option would not be ideal or recommended given the characteristics of the site and the existence of the Shanty Bay boat launch,” Llewellyn wrote.

The report provided one last option — sell the property and reinvest the proceeds into further development of community spaces in Shanty Bay.

Llewellyn said the property could garner upwards of $800,000 and there would be no future repair costs.

The wharf in Hawkestone, meanwhile, needs about $300,000 worth of repairs, according to Llewellyn’s report.

In November 2022, the Hawkestone wharf sustained significant damage and was temporarily repaired until a permanent solution could be determined.

Llewellyn’s report noted damage of this nature is a recurring issue as storms are increasing in severity, with excessive wind and considerable wave action that continues to deteriorate the condition of the wharfs.

The concrete slab in the eastern section of the wharf has undergone significant settlement and cracking. The engineers believe the damages were most likely caused by settlement of the underlying soils and/or from prolonged wave action displacing the fine aggregates.

Repairing the wharf would include removing the existing concrete slab, adding new compacted aggregates and pouring a new concrete slab.

The engineering report noted it would be "prudent" to replace the tie-rod anchors between sheet piles as they would be accessible.

These repairs would extend the life of the structure by 25 to 30 years, Llewellyn’s report said.

Council approved the repairs for the wharf at Hawkestone be put out for tender and that the township hosts a community consultation session for the Shanty Bay wharf.

Details of the community consultation session will be released when the township confirms a date.

Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BarrieToday.com