'Almost double' the damage on Hamilton trail already needing repairs

Two weeks before contractors were going to repair the Waterfront Trail from last year, it got hit again.

2 weeks before contractors were going to repair the Waterfront Trail, it got hit again

Last year, erosion and rising water levels damaged Hamilton's Waterfront Trail. Two weeks before crews were scheduled to go in and fix the parts still unrepaired, an ice storm came along and did nearly twice as much damage. (City of Hamilton)

The weekend ice storm took out good chunks of the asphalt on the Waterfront Trail in Confederation Park — "almost double" the existing damage from the August flood.

"It took out half the path," said Kara Bunn, manager of parks and cemeteries at City of Hamilton.

Contractors were scheduled to do the repairs from the summer flood next week, but now the scope of their work might have to increase with the added damage.

Bunn said the contractors are "speaking with the conservation authority and the engineers to determine what the new scope looks like." Previously, the erosion area was about 57 metres long, but now it's over 100 metres.

The original repair work was slated to cost roughly $150,000, said Bunn, but now it's unclear if that estimate will hold.

There was also debris and storm surge on other parts of the trail that took the city days to clear off, including sand and driftwood.

Time to rethink how it's designed? 

Because the beach area is prone to damage, Bunn said they're considering doing a feasibility study.

The study would "determine what sort of actions [the city] can take to mitigate further damages." However, that would be a lengthy process.

​City council first needs to approve the idea of a feasibility study, then they have to order a plan from a consultant, which then needs council approval. Then it needs funding, time, and a shoreline engineering company to do the work.

"There are a lot of other people within Ontario that have experienced this type of damage, and they're likely also using the same engineer," Bunn said.

In the meantime, city staff has taken to using alternative measures to mitigate some of the damages. This year, putting in snow fencing has been "fairly successful" in holding down the sand.

Most of the trail has been reopened, she said, except for the areas that are fenced off for repairs.

Trail users will need to be cautious of debris that might have been missed and also contractors out doing repairs with machinery.


Flora Pan


Flora Pan is a multimedia journalist based in southern Ontario. She currently works out of Windsor. You can reach her at flora.pan@cbc.ca or on Twitter @FloraTPan.