Fences sprout around Lacombe Lake Park
Public works cites safety concerns due to unstable banks
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 03, 2012 06:00 am
Most of the pond at Lacombe Lake Park has been fenced off as the city tries to figure out how to repair its banks after stability issues were noted during a recent repair.
Long lines of green fences now line most of the shoreline as both public works and planning and engineering decide what to do about the problem.
“It’s become a significant issue,” said Bruce Thompson, operations manager for public works. “You can travel on the trails. The fence line is to prevent users from encroaching” on the land between the trail and the pond.”
The problem arose earlier this summer when public works started examining how to fix a portion of the promenade that had been set on fire, leaving it irreparable. While examining the area, workers began to notice parts of the bank were unstable.
“We did an inspection of the lake and found the entire shoreline has instability issues wherever there is not an inshoring with rocks,” Thompson said. “There are some significant problems with the bank.”
Some parts of the bank are structurally sound because they sit on top of either a wall or have been stabilized with rock. Those areas have not been fenced but the remainder has.
The fencing, said Thompson, is meant to protect park users.
“Virtually all areas … are destabilized. It’s kind of hard to spot because you don’t cut right across the shoreline. You have to look closely to see where these fissures are,” Thompson said.
Inspections revealed the lake required more than a simple repair and have consulted with the engineering department for help. The extent of the problem has also forced the city to put off any repairs until next year or potentially 2014 as the repair has not been listed in the coming budget. Council receives its budget package later this week.
“It’s beyond a maintenance capacity,” Thompson said. “It has to be an engineered solution.
Tracy Allen, director of engineering, said her department is examining the problem but does not yet know what has caused the instability or how much it will cost to repair it.
“We’ve pulled together a capital project for next year or 2014,” Allen said. “We’ll look at it from what we can do to get it open right away to a medium or long-term approach.”
A consultant has provided some suggested options but no engineering firm has yet been retained to study the issue, Allen said. Her department might be able to submit a plan for the 2013 budget deliberations but the timeline will be tight. Council starts debating the budget Oct. 28.
“We’ve actually been working internally on a couple of the engineering options so depending on what shakes out over the next six weeks, we might be able to bring it forward,” Allen said.
The fence will remain in place until the pond freezes up, at which point it will be revisited. Public works is currently filling the pond in preparation for winter activities such as skating, as some downstream development has drawn down the water level.