Since our initial update to the membership regarding recent erosion events along the river following the January thaw and rainstorm, (click here to read Chris Bouwers’ blog from January 14, 2020) we have been in communication with representatives from the City to better understand their interests in addressing these areas as well as expressing our concerns regarding future erosion risk.
The timing of our erosion event(s) proved to be ironic as the City is now ready to re-visit discussions that started with the Club in 2012 to address the erosion issue along the bank below the houses to the left of 10 fairway.
Background on #10 Erosion
It has been obvious for the past 15 plus years that erosion along the bank running adjacent to the left of 10 fairway has been slowly impacting the properties of those that live along the top of bank. As some of us may recall, around the same time this issue materialized on the City’s radar, Credit Valley was beginning to aggressively press the City to address the erosion issues along the culvert to the east of the Clubhouse. At the time, scientific evidence was beginning to suggest that if the banks of the culvert were not addressed, our Clubhouse would be susceptible to serious structural issues relating to the proximity of the erosion.
In the end, we did come to an agreement with the City and the work was performed and is continuing to hold up well. At one point in the negotiation process the City was evaluating the opportunity to stabilize the bank along 10 fairway at the same time as the culvert work. When the City shared their plans with the Club for the river work, we stressed our concern with aesthetics, architectural changes to the golf course, impact to water flows and flood risk as well as the possibility of increased ice jam risk.
As a result of these valid concerns, the City decided to take a step back and re-evaluate the project. However, as part of the negotiation process on the storm drain project the Club and the City agreed on an easement, giving the City access to the valley when the time was right to address the erosion along the river. In the meantime, on behalf of the City, an engineering firm has been performing annual comprehensive studies on the bank to track erosion and accurately determine the right time to act based on the gathered quantitative measurements.
These evaluations have determined that the City will need to address the erosion issues during the winter of 2021-2022. On February 20, the City presented their plan to address the river bank erosion along the left side of 10 fairway. Although there is still a lot of work behind the scenes before the project begins, we were pleased that the proposed solution will be aesthetically pleasing, will have very little impact to our golf course and computer models show that there is no statistically significant increase in flooding or ice jam probability.
At this point we have not agreed to anything, but we are optimistic that the proposed plan captures the Club’s interests and concerns.
Some important notes:
- This project will NOT cost the Club
- The project will go to tender in March 2021
- The project will be completed November 2021 – March 2022
- Any damage to our roads, parking lots, cart paths, turf and related infrastructure will be repaired by the City at their expense.
As one would expect, there will be many more meetings and agreements to be made between now and the commencement of the project. It is also important to note that we are working to leverage these negotiations to attempt to address some of the additional erosion issues that we are experiencing. I will explain each of these issues by area, what we believe the City will do and what our plan is in the meantime, given no work will be performed until 2021-2022.
Storm Drain on the Southeast Corner of 17 Fairway
The city has evaluated this area and has determined that they must fix the damaged storm drain. The city has a 3-metre easement in this area and will only address the erosion related to the storm drain failure. The City has not provided a timeline on this repair. We will carefully continue to monitor erosion in this area as it relates to the storm drain, as the City will be held accountable to this. The erosion from the failed storm drain is not related to erosion we have been experiencing in this area for several years. It is important to note that the City has requested access through the golf course to address this drain when they are ready. We have not agreed to anything at this time.
It is important to note that this erosion has not affected the forward tee on 17. We will likely shrink the small fairway / ball drop on 17 by a metre or so to create a buffer along the river bank.
9 Fairway West Side of the River
The City was very clear in our meetings that they have no legal requirement to address this area as it is on our property. The damage in this area is of particular concern to the Club as the eroded bank poses a safety risk to golfers and, more importantly, depending on who you ask, the carry over the river is now an additional 20 yards! Given these factors, we have decided to repair the bank along 9 in advance of the golf season to minimize disruption to play and maintain the integrity of our golf course. We will be working with the same contractors that repaired the block wall in two spots along 6 fairway in the fall. Both of these spots held up to the January flooding. In repairing the block wall and backfilling behind it, we will be using proven construction methods to make the wall stronger and help protect against future failures. Given these factors, the Board has approved the repair to the bank. The cost to perform this work will be $170,000. The Finance Committee will be working with the Board to determine the best means to finance this expense.
Although we are taking it on ourselves to repair and pay for this project, we will be bringing this up with the City as future negotiations on erosion continue.
10 Tee West Side of the River
By the numbers, this was the greatest erosion event as a result of the January flood. Due to this erosion, the front third of the forward tee on 10 will have to be reduced to recreate a buffer along the river. This area as it relates to the City is the most complicated, as it sits right in the middle of their easement. At this point, as you may expect, the City is not taking ownership for this issue; however, we believe that the Club has a strong argument otherwise. Either way, we are concerned that erosion in this area will continue until the proper measures are taken. Last week, we took advantage of the colder temperatures and firmer ground conditions to implement measures prescribed by the Credit Valley Conservation Authority to buy us time while we await a final decision and a long-term solution. The expense for this repair is comfortably covered in our annual flood contingency.
In summary, we expect to open the golf course with the aforementioned projects completed, weather permitting. As you can appreciate, there is a lot to be negotiated with the City, and we are cautiously optimistic that they will take responsibility for some of our erosion challenges this winter. In the meantime, we have no choice but to address these areas as best we can to maintain our golf course in its current state and protect against further erosion all while incurring minimal cost to the Club.
As talks with the City unfold, your Board will be sure to keep the membership up to date. It is important to note that as we construct our strategic plan for the Club, erosion mitigation measures will be taken into account.
I appreciate that this is a lengthy read covering a broad spectrum of material. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact me at your convenience.