Gorrie Conservation Area – next steps
Maitland Conservation Moves Ahead With Next Steps at Gorrie Conservation Area
The Members of Maitland Conservation recently approved the submission of a conceptual plan for decommissioning the Gorrie Dam to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). This is the next step in the process of decommissioning the dam and developing a remediation plan for the site.
Part of the earthen berm to the south of the dam failed in June 2017. In June 2019, after reviewing a study of alternatives for the dam, the Conservation Authority membership decided to begin the process of decommissioning the structure which is located at Gorrie Conservation Area.
Prior to decommissioning the dam, the Conservation Authority must obtain approval from the MNRF and meet requirements set out in the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act. GSS Engineering was contracted to develop a draft conceptual plan for the site. Through this process it was determined that a full decommissioning plan that allows for continued community green space is best suited for the Gorrie property.
The draft plan includes a number of components:
- Removal of all in-water concrete structures to provide a natural river corridor
- Channel design that includes vortex weirs to improve fish habitat with riffles and pools Maintaining narrow channel sections to create flow and a variety of river habitats.
- Rebuilding a section of the southern berm with onsite materials to provide protection to the picnic shelter and parkland. Lowering the southern berm height and regrading the slopes.
- Placing concrete in the old sluiceway and using the sluiceway berm to fill and level the area.
- Regrading and adding topsoil to the island. Using a stepped bank design to allow river flows to pass over this area.
David Turton, Maitland Conservation Chair, reports that there are two phases to the Gorrie project.
“Phase one involves decommissioning the dam structure and phase two will be the restoration of the parkland. Remediation of the pond area will happen after phase one has been completed and the river corridor has had time to adjust to the removal of the dam,” says Turton.
Over the summer Maitland Conservation staff expect to meet with MNRF representatives to review the conceptual plan and background information. Staff will also be meeting with the Township of Howick to update Council on the decommissioning process and plans are underway for public consultation outreach in late summer or early fall. The format of this outreach will be determined by the status of the COVID-19 situation.
“We may be seeking community comments about the conceptual plan on-line or in small groups depending on advice from local health officials,” explained Turton.
For information please contact:
Stewart Lockie, Conservation Areas Coordinator
519-335-3557 ext. 234