“˜Years of neglect”™ led to deterioration of dam boards

The Town of Erin could be looking at a costly fix to the Hulls Dam located in the village of Erin.

The wooden boards that stymie the flow of the Credit River have deteriorated and the significant drop in water levels revealed mud flats on both sides of the dam, Erin roads superintendent Larry Van Wyck told council on Aug 11.

Water is passing through the boards below the surface, where as it would normally pass over the boards.

“Since that time something has happened, either there is more flow or debris has gotten caught in the boards, the water has come up. The mud flats are currently submerged with some water over top of them,” said Van Wyck.

He explained the Credit Valley Conservation authority (CVC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry  (MNR) have been in contact with the town and have different approaches to fixing the problem.

“One agency would prefer that we don’t do anything to the boards because they don’t want us to jeopardize the flow down stream. The other agency would like us to do something sooner rather than later to mitigate any threat of silt being released down the river,” said Van Wyck.

Councillor Matt Sammut asked if this could be an expensive fix. Van Wyck explained the town owns all the surrounding property and the final cost would be determined by the need to get a permit to fix the dam.

“If we have to obtain a permit to do any work under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act, we’re opening Pandora’s box. We already know from experience in Hillsburgh if that happens we’re going to have to bring this dam up to 2011 standards,” said Van Wyck.

The poor condition of the dam would cause this fix to be a large ticket item, he explained.

“This area suffers from years of neglect. The concrete portion of the dam on the face is in very poor condition … the facing of that dam is in very poor repair and needs attention,” said Van Wyck.

There is no risk to the public at this time because of the low water levels.

“Right now the risk is minimal because there’s not much water behind it. There would be a greater risk if there was a lot more water behind it and those boards were questionable,” said Van Wyck.

Town staff is expected to meet with the CVC and MNR to discuss possible next steps.