THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO ~~~~~~ January 16, 2021 (LSN) The Friends of Chippewa Park, in a pre-budget presentation to Thunder Bay City Council, announced that their million-dollar application to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Parks and Conservation for the removal of the derelict dock and the stabilization of the shore line was turned down.
According to Iain Angus, Project Manager for The Friends of Chippewa Park, the reason given by the Province for the application not being funded was that “The monitoring of beach quality indicates beach water quality now meets the established criteria.”
Angus told Council that “Just so you are clear, there has been no change to the quality of water in the bay – only that the province has raised the threshold.” He went on to state that “under the new criteria the main Chippewa beach would still have been posted 30 times since 2008 instead of the 61 times under the previous rate.” “While the threshold has changed it is clear that the problem has not gone away” he noted in a release.
In 2018 the Province decided that a public swimming area could continue to operate if the amount of ecoli found during sampling was double what the previous benchmark was. (Pre-2018 100 Ecoli per 100 ml was the standard. From 2018 onward it is now 200 Ecoli per 100 ml).
The Ministry had recently funded 100% of the cost of preparing a plan for the removal of the dock which had received severe damage during a fall storm in 2019 along with the protection of the shoreline. A City of Thunder Bay study in 2015 found that the removal of the dock and armour stone would assist in reducing the contamination found within the bay. “We were led to believe that by funding the development of the plan that the Ministry would assist in its implementation.
The initial funding was provided under the requirements of the Thunder Bay Area of Concern to deal with contaminated areas within the Thunder Bay. Beach Closings is one of the remaining impaired Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern (AOC). The current Beach Closings BUI delisting criteria is as follows: “This beneficial use will no longer be impaired when primary sources of fecal pollution are identified, and pollution control plans have been developed and implemented…”
Angus indicated to Council that The Friends of Chippewa Park would continue to seek out funding for the dock’s removal and the strengthening of the shoreline.
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