Friday, July 12, 2024
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Pier review

Rock wall reinforcement chosen as best option for repairing Norway Bay landmark

The Municipality of Bristol has accepted the recommendation from the Bristol Pier Committee that the best course of action for preserving the historical pier in Norway Bay is to reinforce its sides with rock revetment.
The recommendation was presented by committee chair Terry Kiefl at the municipality’s council meeting on July 2, where council voted unanimously to accept the recommendation.
In March, the municipality announced that after receiving the results of an engineering study that revealed the pier’s structural safety was compromised, it had no choice but to close the pier until it could be properly repaired.
The study found that water had rusted holes in the metal sides of the pier and was washing sand out from under its walkway, creating sinkholes in the walkway’s interlock.
In April, pier committee formed to explore all options for repairing the community landmark.
“We looked at the three main critical factors for a successful project, including financial considerations, environmental considerations, and functional requirements, which is basically fishing, swimming and boating,” Kiefl said, opening his presentation to council on Tuesday evening.
He explained the committee narrowed options down to either . . .

complete demolition, encasing the pier in an extra layer of steel side piling, or using rock revetment to bolster the sides of the pier.
The 13-member committee put forward the third option as the front runner because it was the most cost effective, could use locally sourced materials and labour, and would allow for continued use of the pier for recreational activities.
“We’re in a unique situation here in that we have Bristol Mine a mile away. It has more rocks than Mars,” Kiefl told THE EQUITY.
“The other advantage is that you install [the rock revetment] from the shore outwards, which means you can have heavy equipment on the pier because it gets supported as you go,” he said.

Both demolition and encasing the pier with steel piling would involve using barges to carry construction equipment as the pier is too weak to support the heavy machines needed.
Rock revetment is a building technique used frequently to support piers wherein large piles of rocks are built up against the sides of a pier, reinforcing its walls.
“You’re covering the holes with all this rock you’re putting in, including big metre-size boulders,” explained Bruce Mason, a retired structural engineer on the pier committee after the meeting.
“The problem was earth was leaking through holes in the sheet pile. But if we put rock on the other side, the earth won’t be able to leak through,” he said.
Kiefl said the committee got a rough cost estimate done by local landscaping contractor Blue Heron, which priced the rock revetment work at about $700,000.
Valerie Twolan-Graham, Bristol councillor for Norway Bay and also council liaison for the pier committee with councillor Archie Greer, said this money will need to come from a series of grants as well as a substantial community fundraising effort.
The first grant the committee is applying for is from stream two of the Regions and Rurality funding (FRR2) available from the MRC.
The committee worked nonstop for most of last week to pull together the needed application components, including a collection of letters from community groups in Bristol and across the MRC that speak to the critical role the pier could play in the region.
Twolan-Graham said the first money the project needs is to fund surveys that need to be done before engineering plans can be drafted.
“One is a bathymetric survey, one is a jet probe to take a look at the seal structure and the riverbed. So those are probably the two that we’ll apply for but the grant proposal will put our project on the MRC’s radar,” she said.
“The MRC is very aware that this is a huge project, and aware of the possibility of it functioning better than it does right now.”
Sabrina Ayres, MRC Pontiac’s socio-economic development coordinator, has joined the committee “because of the widespread use of the pier by residents in the MRC Pontiac and beyond,” Twolan-Graham said.
Twolan-Graham said it was not yet clear how long the rock revetment installation would take, as it is dependent on environmental and other approvals from various levels of government.
“We don’t know how quickly we can move. But you’re dealing with a pier that’s already been there. It’s a structure that’s going to stay, it’s just going to be supported,” she emphasized.
Twolan-Graham said the committee has a vision for what the pier could become through this revitalization project that she believes is shared with both the MRC and the province.
She said she could imagine it being used as a venue for farm-to-fork feasts with food from local producers, for weddings, or for film nights, theatrical performances, and art festivals.