By Denise Bacon

Visitors to the Port Union waterfront this summer have been stopped in their tracks by barriers preventing their walks along our beautiful trail. Unfortunately, erosion of the beach over time required major maintenance work to preserve the trail.

Thanks to Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), this work is underway so that visitors will be able to safely resume their enjoyment of this area of our neighbourhood. The work will help protect against the hazards of shoreline erosion and address public safety concerns along the Waterfront Trail.

Some of the most visible aspects of this project are the tremendous stones being used. Centennial News dug a little to find out more about the project and these giants in the neighbourhood. The largest stones are 1- to 2-tonne non-stackable armourstone. All the stones for this project are being delivered from a quarry in Picton, Ontario.

The stone materials are transported via barge that departs a stockpile yard in Picton before travelling along Lake Ontario to Port Union. The barge is unloaded using equipment both on the barge and on land where the stone is stockpiled until it can be placed within the structure.

The trail itself could not be realigned because of the physical constraints of the shoreline to the south and the Metrolinx rail line to the north. This means that the only way to ensure protection of the waterfront trail here was to improve the erosion control structures on the shoreline.

The sizing and placement of the stone was determined by a certified coastal engineer. The design focused on using stones large enough to withstand predicted wave conditions, and adding a stone buffer between the trail and the shoreline to safely dissipate the energy from overtopping waves.

TRCA staff assisted with recommending stone placement for the submerged groynes, which are non-structural aquatic habitat improvement features that are just off the shoreline.

We can look forward to long walks along the length of the Port Union waterfront trail by the end of December 2022 at the completion of the project. 

At the other end of the trail, the shoreline remediation work at Rouge Beach that took place over the summer is now complete. TRCA has finished its work to restore the traditional flow of the river into Lake Ontario and the beach, now quite a bit wider, is open to the public just in time for fall.  

The lower parking lot will remain closed as Metrolinx wraps up construction on the bridge rehabilitation project and clears equipment out of the area.