Council elects fencing to provide for Cottonwood safety

The Town of Osoyoos will spend almost $13,000 to fence off a portion of Cottonwood Beach — and a sidewalk along Cottonwood Drive above it — to keep the popular waterfront area open through the summer months.

Council determined Monday to approve the cheapest of three options — which ranged in cost from $13,000 to more than $71,000 — to keep residents and visitors away from a retaining wall damaged during flooding last year and in danger of toppling over on to the beach.

But, as Coun. CJ Rhodes noted, cracks in a sidewalk above the wall, could be a “tripping hazard” for pedestrians.

Cracks in the sidewalk above the retaining wall show how much it has moved.

“The fence is actually up top as well as down below on the beach area,” replied Jim Dinwoodie, the Town’s Director of Operational Services.

In April, Council heard the existing Allan block retaining wall, running adjacent to the lake’s edge, became unstable during last spring’s flooding.

“As a result, the four wall sections are now . . . leaning outward,” Mr. Dinwoodie told Council. “Concrete and asphalt walkways have sunken and surrounding landscape areas have been compromised.

“Any future weather or wave events could cause the wall to fall over onto the beach area.”

He explained work to replace the wall could not begin until the fall because the Town has not yet received from the province a necessary permit to undertake the work.

“Rising lake levels have now made it necessary to postpone this project until Osoyoos Lake levels drop in the autumn of 2019,” he added.

Despite a recommendation Cottonwood Beach be shut for good through the summer season, Osoyoos Council approved a partial closure of the beach area and the temporary shoring with sand of the retaining wall that lines its length below Cottonwood Drive.

But to do so, a report delivered to Council suggested “temporary remedial action,” consisting of one of three options:

  • Installing and maintaining a 2.43 metre-high construction fence at a cost of $12,842.48
  • Removing and storing the existing Allan Block retaining wall and using beach sand (or rip-rap) to fill a slope in the void and install a high construction fence at a cost of between $68,557.48 and $71,487.28; and,
  • Supplying, installing and maintaining a 1.5 metre-high precast modular block wall complete with sand infill between existing retaining wall and the beach at a cost of $71,825.00.

“It should be noted that none of the above-listed quoted prices include removal of the construction fence, sand or precast modular block wall prior to the actual repair work of the retaining wall, which is scheduled to begin September 3,” explains Mr. Dinwoodie in a report to Council.

Responding to a question from Coun. Brian Harvey regarding fencing costs if Council had elected to close the entire beach for the summer, Mr. Dinwoodie reported, “You would have enclosed some cost to enclose the entire area.”

He added funding was available to cover the cost of the fencing.

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