PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – Boaters visiting or departing Wellington Harbour are reminded to exercise caution for the next couple of weeks as a large piece of dredging equipment clears built-up sand from the channel leading to Lake Ontario.
Prince Edward County’s director of operations, Adam Goheen, said the operation is necessary as currents bring sand from Lake Ontario and the nearby beach and deposits it in the channel, posing a risk to boaters. Goheen said the operation is typically scheduled for spring.
“It was supposed to be done in the spring of 2019, but apparently a large ice flow came in and that window closed and then again this spring, the water was too high so they had to delay it until late summer,” he explained. “We have to be done by Sept. 15 when Pacific Salmon spawning begins, but that shouldn’t be a problem.”
Goshen said most of the sand is washed off Rotary Beach and if it’s fitting is put back there.
“They tell me that’s where most of the sand comes from, so I would think it’s proper for us to put it back there to in order to preserve it,” he said. “We’re doing it with a suction dredge and it’s pressurized to a sump and then pumped to a (holding) area. Dozers will then spread it around on the beach and because of (environmental) regulations, we are not allowed to pump it out into Lake Ontario. The sand needs to be on shore and needs to be used to restore the beach and is supposed to be 10 metres away from the high water line.”
The equipment is owned by the Town of Cobourg which has similar problems with its harbour on the shore of Lake Ontario.
Boaters are advised to use caution around the dredging equipment.
Public and guests of the canal are required to remain away from the pressurize pipes and berm and must remain outside of the fenced areas.
Boaters may contact dredge operators on VHF8 but should give way to the navigation of the vessel in the channel.
The dredge will move to allow passing vessels but may take a short period of time, which may result in boating delays.
Noise levels will be elevated in the area.
Access to parking spaces near the Wellington Rotary Beach boat launch will be restricted to allow for a staging/work area.
Access to the east portion of the beach will also be restricted as material from the dredging is deposited there.
Both boat launches in Wellington will remain open during the dredging; however, temporary disruptions may be required. The municipality will provide advanced notice of boat launch disruptions whenever possible.
The boat launch at Wellington Rotary Beach was closed from noon on Wednesday and scheduled to reopen 24 hours later.
Goheen said it’s critical to get the dredging done now.
“There is so much build up, people are able to walk from our side over to the provincial side because there is so much siltation build up,” he said.
For more information, contact the County of Prince Edward’s Customer Service Desk during regular office hours at 613-476-2148 ext. 1023 or 613-962-9108 ext. 1023.