Nova Scotia

Councillor calling for realignment of battered road by Lawrencetown Beach

A municipal councillor is calling for a permanent fix for a section of road at Nova Scotia’s popular Lawrencetown Beach that gets pummelled during storms.

David Hendsbee planning to pitch long-term solution for Highway 207

An excavator was at the section of Highway 207 on Wednesday where Coun. David Hendsbee says the road should be realigned.

A municipal councillor is calling for a permanent fix for a section of road at Nova Scotia's popular Lawrencetown Beach that gets pummelled during storms.

Road crews are working on Highway 207 this week, making repairs to a rock berm that protects the road.

But any time there is storm surge, the road by the beach inevitably takes a beating by the powerful waves that pound the coastline, sometimes requiring repairs to be done.

Coun. David Hendsbee said although roads are a provincial issue, he hears complaints about Highway 207 all the time.

Hendsbee said it's time for change. He said he'll be suggesting to the province that Highway 207 be realigned.

"We know that with climate adaptation, the frequency of storms here are getting more severe," said the councillor for Preston-Chezzetcook-Eastern Shore.

"I think if they want to protect the infrastructure here at Lawrencetown, especially with Highway 207 being a critical roadway along the Eastern Shore, they need to do something to protect that corridor."

An excavator moves large rocks around at Highway 207 in Lawrencetown, N.S., on Wednesday. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Hendsbee believes the road should be relocated further north and suggested the old roadway could be used as parking. Part of the parking area at the beach has been lost due to rock infilling, he said.

That parking area was used by surfers who would come to the beach to experience some of the best surf conditions in the province.

Surfers would like to see a safe area for them to park, but more importantly, they say the road needs a long-term solution.

"A realignment would place the road in a much safer location," said Vic Ruzgys, chairman of the coastal access committee with the Surfing Association of Nova Scotia. 

"The issue of the current road washing out is a hazard to drivers here ... plus during storms, emergency access to this area is at risk."

Lawrencetown Beach is a provincially-operated park. Plans have been announced to replace the old beach house with new infrastructure.

The view looking out over the ocean from the top of the Lawrencetown bluff. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The provincial government has made numerous repairs to Highway 207, with several of those repairs made at the exact same spot.

The latest patch job to the road that leads to the beach is the most expensive one yet.

The province has earmarked $60,000 to bring in 1,700 tonnes of armour rock over the next several days to try and hold the waves at bay. 

It's the sixth time the area has had patch jobs and maintenance work. The latest project brings the total up to $190,000 since 2011.

Hendsbee has drawn up plans of how he sees the realignment project playing out. 

With the road being pushed further back from the ocean, it would actually straighten out Highway 207, taking a steep winding curve out of the road. 

This wetland in Lawrencetown is in the area where a proposed realignment of Highway 207 would go. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Hendsbee envisions a walking trail at Lawrencetown bluff with a parking area towards the top of the new realignment near where a cafe and some small businesses have stunning views of the surrounding areas.

The proposed realignment project would mean that a short section of new road, approximately 500 metres in length, would have to be built.

Three provincial departments would need to be involved: Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Environment and Lands and Forestry, which operates the park at the beach.

"This money they are spending now, the $60,000, is somewhat wasted because it's a Band-Aid fix at best," said Ruzgys. "A long-term solution is better in the long run financially and beneficial for the community."

The province has said in the past that they were considering a large seawall for the area, similar to one in nearby Cow Bay.

No one from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal was made available for comment.


Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across Nova Scotia for 30 years.


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