Friday, 29 May 2015

A Walk Along the Pier in Port Stanley

There is something almost magical about a walk along a pier in the summertime looking out over the water’s edge as the waves lap peacefully against the shoreline. Soon visitors to Port Stanley will be able to do just that when the West Breakwater opens to the public later this summer for the first time in nearly fifteen years. 

The project includes the construction of an accessible 12-14 foot wide walking surface, benches for resting and a concrete wall along the west side acting as a railing system to protect people from strong wave action. The wall will also have lowered portions, with glass, for those with mobility issues to view the water while on the walkway. Construction on this project has already begun and is estimated to be competed by the end of June 2015, weather permitting. 

The West Breakwater was closed by Transport Canada in 1998 because of safety concerns and the Municipality of Central Elgin originally intended only to repair the concrete and timber that hold the Breakwater together. A Breakwater is extremely important to a portside Community, blocking large waves to create a calm harbour and stemming the flow of sediment into the harbour. When the construction company doing the repairs created a concrete surface for their machinery to travel on, the Municipality determined that the next logical step would be to use that surface for pedestrian traffic and thus the Breakwater project began.

Reopening the Breakwater is part of a larger project to improve the harbour for recreation and to grant greater public access to the water. In the Fall, Central Elgin plans to dredge the harbour and use the sediment to reclaim 6 acres of the harbour creating Hofhuis Park, which will be located on the north end of the Breakwater. The Municipality also plans to rehabilitate the East Berm and create more park land, making the village of Port Stanley even more welcoming to tourists and recreation enthusiasts. 

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