Harbour repairs moving ahead slowly

The 2022 budget included provision for work to start on repairing the harbour breakwaters and walls but when tenders were called for phase one, the lowest bid was “far over budget” ($7M vs a budget of $5M).  Staff then re-tendered for just part of Phase one (the East wall) but “delays of the Coast Guard building reconstruction project on the East Pier would significantly impact the east wall repair project” so at the recent Committee of the Whole council meeting, another adjustment of the sequence was recommended by staff. The new plan is to repair the West Breakwater first using the approved Phase one budget of $4.9M.   But Director Geerts said that a decision to proceed was needed now or we would miss next summer’s construction season.

Mayor Cleveland said that the project should be deferred until a provincial or federal grant was available.  In response to a question from Councillor Burchat, Director Geerts said that “nothing prevents us from seeking funding from other levels of Government … We continue to apply as they become available”.  Further in applying for grants, “we need to show we are committed to it … We need to show we have skin in the game”.  Councillor Darling asked if implementing the West Breakwater would stop sand infiltration into the harbour so maintenance costs (dredging) would be reduced – the answer was yes.  The motion to approve proceeding with repairing the west wall breakwater passed unanimously.

Here are some more details.

Staff report

Due to the uncertain timing of the completion of the Coast Guard structure, staff recommend a flexible approach for now regarding the timing of the east breakwater and east pier. To repair the east breakwater, frequent access by heavy equipment is required via the east pier. Until there is some certainty to the completion of the Coast Guard building, staff recommend not proceeding with a permanent repair to the east breakwater. The best timing and contract approach for the east breakwater can be confirmed at a later date; it is possible to effectively stage the east breakwater with the basin wall repairs, east pier repairs, or as a stand-alone project. The East breakwater is recommended to be completed before the east pier so that damage is not inflicted on the newly repaired east pier with the transportation of heavy machinery and materials out to the breakwater.

Revised sequence of Repair work

Original sequence

New sequence

1. Basin Walls
2. Breakwaters
3. East Pier

1. Breakwater – West
2. Basin Walls
3. East breakwater
4. East Pier

To recap the work:

1. Basin walls: Rehabilitation of the walls on the north and east side of marina basin as well as the fuel dock.

  • Replace old walls with new steel sheet pile walls with a concrete cap along the water’s edge.
  • Restoration and proper backfilling behind the new walls to eliminate the need for maintenance due to sink holes and will include replacement of the paver stone walkway with a new concrete walkway
  • Work will ensure a safe place for load in/ load out of boats
West Breakwater
West Breakwater

2. Breakwaters: Rehabilitation of the breakwaters that form the entrance to the harbour (Photo is West Breakwater in July 2013).

  • Existing concrete cap modified where required
  • Additional stone material will be placed to build up the structures to provide additional protection and increase stability of the failed sections

3. East Pier: A third phase is contemplated for repair, redesign, and construction of the East Pier to reactivate this space as a public amenity.

Director Geerts commented that the whole project is now expected to cost $15M to $20M.

Apart from moving ahead with the West Breakwater in 2023 and that other phases are subject to approval in the 2023 budget, there is no indication of when all the work will be completed.

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16 Comments
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cornbread
16 December 2022 10:27 am

So Staff and Council want about 98% of residents to put their “skin in the game” for the perhaps 2% that will use the Harbour for their “boating pleasure”

Let the people who vote for the expense…pay the expense. The people of Port Hope closed their boating harbour…why…to high a cost and not much payback.

Interest (6%) on $25 Million for 10 years is $15 Million…Could our harbour return this amount of Net Profit after expenses etc?

Bryan
Reply to  cornbread
16 December 2022 10:46 am

Cornbread,

You make an interesting argument. However your numbers are a bit off.

$25M @ 6% for 10 years requires annual debt service of $3,330,615.
The total 10 year interest cost is $8,306,151

The Town typically borrows for a 15 fixed rate term.
$25M @ 6% for 15 years requires annual debt service of $2,531,571.
The total 15 year interest cost is $12,973,557

Your point that the cost to the Town’s taxpayers is significant is nonetheless valid.

cornbread
Reply to  Bryan
16 December 2022 6:24 pm

If the town took the $25 million and invested it at 6%…they would make $1.5 million a year. What would the Harbour make? The Harbour and the jetties are a waste of most taxpayers money for the few people who can afford a good sized Lake Ontario boat.

Bryan
Reply to  cornbread
16 December 2022 7:21 pm

Cornbread,
The issue is not the boaters in the marina. it is the other boat, kayak, canoe, dragon boat, sailing dingy, assorted wildlife, nature lovers and, perhaps most importantly, the Coast Guard.

What obligations did/has the Town undertaken in that regard? Also, Cobourg harbour is a safe refuge harbour. The only one, I believe, between Whitby and Trenton.

One of the main issues with the harbour is that the Town bought it from the Feds in 2002 knowing it needed repairs and upkeep.
The Feds even provided $400K in lieu of repairs (assume a repair list also). There is no indication that any repairs were done or what happened to the $400K.

So the Town has known for two decades (20 years!) that the harbour needs repairs. What was/has been done? It’s a mystery.

That said, we (Cobourg taxpayers) will now have to foot the bill and it’s a big one.

Ahewson
Reply to  Bryan
17 December 2022 6:41 am

Cornbread, Cobourg dies a little bit if the harbour were ever closed. It is engrained into the fabric of Cobourg as much as anything. The town wouldn’t have existed without it. And as Bryan has pointed out, there are a lot more users of the harbour that just pleasure boaters. A bit of a fallacy on your behalf to suggest that. Heck, I don’t even use the water portion but enjoy walking down the pier and seeing boats come and go, etc. Wildlife, kayaks, dragonboats. Again, all the stuff Bryan pointed out.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ahewson
cornbread
Reply to  Bryan
17 December 2022 8:30 am

If our Harbour is so important to Ontario and Fed Canada, then why are our Staff and Elected Officials not pushing these governments for at least equal three-way support for our Harbour. The Feds dumped it on Cobourg…time for a “return” volley.

Bryan
Reply to  cornbread
17 December 2022 10:31 am

Cornbread,

The Town bought the harbour for $1 and received $400K in lieu of repairs.. Who could resist such a deal? No one forced the Town to buy it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Sandpiper
16 December 2022 9:36 am

There is certainly a complete lack of foresight and process in this expensive undertaking .
What, When , where and who has the money $$
Sounds like this should go to through the Planning and Engineering Departments for
sight plan approval If they review this project like they do all private projects in this Town
it should hold things up for a good year or 2 while the Town gets its finances in order .

Bryan
Reply to  Sandpiper
16 December 2022 10:55 am

Sandpiper,

As Clr Darling noted at the recent CoW, ….. the town has put off major capital repairs for years (decades??) and now there can be no more delays and we (taxpayers) have to pony up.

Delaying this for two years while the Town “gets its finances in order” will only make the repairs more costly. Nothing will change regarding “getting its finances in order”

Ken
Reply to  Bryan
16 December 2022 11:22 am

I agree Bryan! The longer we wait, the more the costs go up? Am I wrong?

Bryan
Reply to  Sandpiper
16 December 2022 2:37 pm

Sandpiper,

“Sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” In this case, the coal is staff BS and it is indeed increasing, as is the Town’s (taxpayer’s) debt.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Gerinator
16 December 2022 9:16 am

This is the first problem I see: “But Director Geerts said that a decision to proceed was needed now or we would miss next summer’s construction season.” This so reminds me of the old adage ‘spend the budget now, fore we never get it back again’. This is a very dangerous proposition as it leads to a false urgency and false assumption regarding the accuracy of the budgeted $s. The second problem: Given the reality of a 40+% under funded budget (7 vs 5 million) the whole project should be recast in that light. For instance there is nothing in the info provided that says the 4.9M$ will be sufficient to complete the West Breakwater. The $s Budget need to be recast asap, no firm commitment on that from Staff. Further the question needs to be asked – did Shoreplan (consultant) come up with a planned cost to match a pre-ordained budget or that matched the scope of work? and recent inflationary trends suggest the 40% over budget is now the floor not the ceiling. The third problem – which is it?: “Director Geerts said that “nothing prevents us from seeking funding from other levels of Government … We continue to apply as they become available”. Further in applying for grants, “we need to show we are committed to it … We need to show we have skin in the game”.  The first part of the foregoing quote suggests that there is a proactive approach to gaining funding from Feds/Prov. Unfortunately the second part of the above quote suggests that no attempts have been made. Do we actually have to spend $s to prove we are in the game? The fourth problem is the dependency on the completion of the Coast Guard structure. I’m sure it is buried in the footnotes… Read more »

Ken Strauss
15 December 2022 2:16 pm

…and will include replacement of the paver stone walkway with a new concrete walkway

Public Works says that storm water management is a priority and will cost taxpayers millions of dollars yet they continue to increase runoff by replacing permeable surfaces with concrete.

Gerinator
Reply to  Ken Strauss
16 December 2022 9:23 am

Ken, don’t know where the source of the … statement comes from but there are concretes that are environmentally friendly and storm water runoff reducing.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Gerinator
16 December 2022 11:06 am

The source of my statement, Gerinator? If so, the paver replacement was mentioned by Mr. Draper: “…and will include replacement of the paver stone walkway with a new concrete walkway“. Please provide further details of “concretes that are environmentally friendly and storm water runoff reducing.” It is my understanding that concrete production is a major source of CO2 and it is unclear how concrete reduces runoff.

Gerinator
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 December 2022 6:59 pm

Thanks for the ‘source’, don’t know why I didn’t catch it. Green and Previous concretes are the environmentally friendly and storm water runoff reducing respectively. Are they perfect, probably not but perhaps we can inch-worm our way to better solution implementations.