By Chris Pickup

Picture aboveSludge accumulation in stagnant boat ramp behind rock outcropping

It appears Erie storms aren’t the only thing causing major problems for Haldimand shoreline residents. 

John and Lorna and James and Michaye Walker wrote to their local Haldimand council representative a week before the Halloween storm to file a years-long ongoing complaint about a rock structure the county put into Lake Erie at the end of Kohler road. Its original purpose was to ensure the creek ditch flow was not blocked by silt and buildup.

The Walkers want it removed since all it has achieved is to collect all kinds of sludge and debris and deposit it in front of their cottage, fouling their recently installed expensive new break wall and shoreline. 

The rock pile Is a safety hazard, inhibits the use of their property and damages their property value, they say, and after generations of family who enjoyed swimming there, their grandchildren will not.

Sludge accumulation on east side of crumbling rock structure

“It is unnatural and interferes with the natural circulation of the water,” the Walkers charge.  “A huge quagmire of rotting slime and dirty water sits stagnant on both sides of this deteriorating pile of rocks and the next storm washes it all up to rot on our waterfront.”

Sludge trapped on front of Walkers’ property, coating break wall

Individual purported remedies to various problems resulted In yet more problems. Two ditches along the former road allowance east of the property were supposed to drain into the lake. However the county’s alteration of the direction and size of the ditches and culverts along Lakeshore road, combined with the rocks and water level, worsened the problem.

And the county’s allowing a cottager on the other side of the road to put a basement under their cottage exacerbated seasonal flooding, and resulted in the county attempting to remedy that by altering the ditch at the corner of Lakeshore and Kohler roads. Once a square intersection, it now swipes widely across the corner of the Walkers’ lot causing a significant stagnant, weed infested area they had formerly maintained as lawn.

It has been suggested the old road allowance could be transformed into a proper boat launch area, and removal of the rocks barrier would be a positive improvement, they feel. In addition the Walkers have been informed by staff at the Long Point Conservation Authority that this type of rock structure is not used today.