Final round of community shoreline meetings planned

Lake Erie on August 26, 2019 (Photo by Allanah Wills)

Residents living along Lake Erie will have one last chance to give their input on how to create a more resilient shoreline.

The next round of community meetings for the Lake Erie Shoreline Study will take place on November 26 at the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport “Air Training Centre” Hangar.

Experts in shoreline hazards, meteorology, climate change and coastal engineering design are undertaking the detailed two-phase study, which is looking at the Lake Erie shoreline from Wheatley to Clear Creek and the impact that climate change is having on the area.

Several consultation meetings have already taken place on the topic to give residents an update on the study and for The Lake Erie Study Team to share their research. The team has also shared what risks shoreline erosion and flooding will have on existing buildings and infrastructure in the area.

According to Bruce McAllister, director of planning services, this round of meetings will give residents an update on what ideas the team has for how to adapt to and manage an eroding shoreline.

“The consultants will present their proposed adaptation concepts and various management options… they’ll give it an overview in the first hour [during] a presentation,” he said.

The adaptation options will look at the following regions of the shoreline: High bluff areas, Erie Beach, Erie Shore Drive and the dyked farmland, flood-prone communities around Rondeau Bay and the federal navigation channel and Rondeau Barrier Beach.

After the formal presentation, McAllister said there will be an engagement period where residents can form groups to discuss the adaptation concepts presented to them.

“The second hour will be delivered into four breakout sessions where people can ask questions about their specific area of interest, comment and review their options,” he explained.

McAllister said this will more than likely be the final round of community meetings. The next steps will be for the consultant to prepare the draft adaptation options, present them to council and finalize the report in March 2019.

“At the end of the day, they have to submit the report to the Federal Government by the end of March,” he said. “So before that, [there’s] no specifics yet in terms of timing, but in the new year they’ll be coming to council.”

Past community meetings have drawn such large crowds that people had to be turned away at the door because of capacity concerns. McAllister recommends anyone interested in attending the upcoming session preregisters to ensure a space, which can be done by calling 519-360-1998.

The meeting on November 26 will have two separate sessions that will each present the same information, one from 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. and one from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The Airport Hangar is located at 8528 Fourteenth Line, RR2 Merlin.