Erie Shore Drive on August 26, 2019 (Photo by Allanah Wills)Erie Shore Drive on August 26, 2019 (Photo by Allanah Wills)

Erie Shore Drive property owners feel hung out to dry after new dyke approval

A new dyke will be built between Erieau and Erie Beach to prevent recurring flooding from a rising Lake Erie when waves are high, but property owners along Erie Shore Drive feel abandoned because it won't protect their properties.

Terra Cadeau, president of the Erie Shore Drive Property Owners Association, spoke at a special meeting of council Thursday night and asked for the new inland dyke to be put on hold and for the municipality to improve the groynes (shoreline protection structures) and the seawalls.

Cadeau said property owners along Erie Shore Drive won't benefit from the new dyke.

"I assure you the property owners of Erie Shore Drive would be agreeable to not only shoreline protection that maintains the dyke, but also the beach and would expect to pay their fair share as we have always said. But a fair share that is distributed among all those who benefit from the drainage works," Cadeau told councillors during her deputation. "Without the sandbank, the embankment would likely fail and result in both the road and the 1,300 plus acres of prime farmland flooding."

Cadeau accused council of neglecting repairs to the groynes and seawalls, while the property owners continue to pay for their own lakeshore protection.

"The preferred option of the preliminary report of 2023 appears to be the construction of a new inland dyke that is likely not strong enough in and of itself to withstand the energy of the wave attack of Lake Erie," said Cadeau.

Cadeau reminded council that many of the issues in the dyke's preliminary report are still before a Drainage Act case to be decided, but council voted 12-2 to move forward with the new inland dyke.

The new dyke on the farm side will cost $8.9 million and the work includes relocating the Lakeshore Drain.

Erie Shore Drive has flooded on many occasions and the current dyke needed urgent repairs in February 2020 to improve its stability after significant flooding. At that time, engineers said the repairs were a short-term solution only and that a longer-term solution was necessary.

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