PROBLEMS with the construction of the North Bay Waterfront, Kings Wharf and the Marina.
Longshore Drift has been occurring along the Northern and Eastern since about 11,000 years ago as glacial melting filled half of Lake Nipissing with geolacustrine soils creating the Sturgeon Flats. Following is a clipping of the Little Sturgeon and Sturgeon watershed.
This slowed down somewhat some 7,000 years ago (when the waters broke through Hudson Bay ice) to 4,700 years ago the entire Great Lake Basin (excluding Lake Ontario) drained out over North Bay to the Ottawa River leaving shorelines of 220m ASL (Atlantic Sea Level.) This combined with the extreme currents of a river the size of the St. Lawrence augmented by prevailing north westerly winds kick started and maintained a "river of sand" creating the beaches that North Bay's Lake Nipissing shoreline is famous for.
When the height of land came up, circa 4,700 years ago, the Mattawa river dried up considerably and much of the currents and drift were gone from the northern shores of Lake Nipissing (which was still a bay of the Nipissing Great Lakes - included Huron, Michigan and Superior.) In that period massive waves powered by those same prevailing winds undercut those beaches distributing the displaced delta sands even further for another 2,000 years.
This finally ceased about 2,500 years ago when the lands of west Nipissing appeared and those violent waves subsided so that vegetation started to fill in and arrest this river of sand. Following is Gartners Geotechnical map (as confirmation of the above) Blue = glaciolacustrine; grey = marsh, clay".
In 1915-16 the water of Lake Nipissing was raised 3m+/- by the Federal Government's Department of Public Works and since has been kept at that level except for the winter when it is drawn down to control the spring flooding! This flooding killed off the vegetation that was holding that "river of sand" in place restarting that longshore drift which now is puny compared to previous times above but still very potent!
The following is extracted from Navionics (US & Canada) and setting the shallow water to blue gives an overview of what the resurrected "river of sand" looked like.
click for a pdf
"Beaches naturally move and represent a very dynamic system. Wind and waves constantly reshape beaches and dunes. Severe storms can move beaches significantly landward and eliminate entire dunes, while subsequent natural processes work to redeposit much of the lost sand back onto the beaches in the weeks after a storm. Artificial inlets, including dredging and jettying, contribute significantly to beach erosion as well. Dynamic, moving beaches are nothing new; beaches have moved for millennia due to sea level rise. Over geologic time beaches have ranged from hundreds of miles seaward to far inland of their present location"
Here is what the area of the North Bay shoreline first looked like.
click for a pdf
notice the lack of foreshore (probably 8m.) This picture had to taken from the top of the headland (a wave cut beach dune)
This shows the dock was on piles so that longshore drift flowed through. This was retained until 1984! The Federal Government actually built that dock and dammed the outlet (French River) with the Chaudiere Dams!
Then in 1985 the Federal Government's Fisheries and Oceans built the North Bay waterfront Marina
Being Fisheries and Oceans these people should have known better because this complex virtually (b)was more of a Groyne than a marina which has totally blocked the longshore drift for the last 31 years! Why would the D.F.O. make such a grave mistake?
Here is another, larger scale image of Navionics (US and Canada) which shows the build up of sand north west of the Government Dock/Kings Wharf section.
click for pdf
As the little red line indicates this structure has halted river of sand since 1985. It looks like it might another be 50 to 100 years for the drift to completely bypass Kings Wharf and then it will continue to replenish the beaches of the former West Ferris shoreline but this is inevitable!
In 2009 the North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority commissioned Baird and Associates to do a Water Front assessment
which documents the severe plucking and shrinkage of the Lake Nipissing shoreline beaches south of the marina!
I unsuccessfully tried to explain the "River of Sand" or longshore drift that re-occurred when in 1916 Lake Nipissing was raised 3m killing the vegetation that held the sand and silt in situ. But the couldn't or wouldn't believe me! I felt that I that I had been attacked by the Head of the NBMCA and an North Bay Alderman for having such pipe dreams. My property wasn't in any danger, so I left but have been watching the accretion of sand north west of the dock and right in front of our home ever since.
Now after another 7 years I am convinced that I was right and the NBMCA/Baird group was wrong.
but that longshore drift will resume no matter what plan is adopted in this exercise or anything else the City of North Bay or federal government can do if this isn't dealt with.
I am betting that longshore drift deposits (sand) keeps building up behind that Marina/groyne and downstream of that the beaches are still diminishing.
Further this will continue until that drift goes around that wharf and fully resumes supplying those beaches to the south.
This might take 20 to 100 years
At another PIC meeting I attended, there was, what I considered was a very good plan for diverting longshore drift, even though the purpose of this study was dealing with bacterial loading from the 10th Street outfall.
I have kept the following page for years because, to me, it shows how that littoral drift might be able to be hastened without large sums of money being spent. Curiously I think this came from Baird and Associates (whom I just finished blasting.)
click for pdf
I don't know if the wetland specified in the above could handle the contaminants issuing from the Kenroc site and the City chose to but a mickey-mouse diversion along with a lift station to handle the bacterial loading for the swim season. I assume this is adequate.
To the following Google Earth image I have added what I think would a diversion of the longshore drift around Kings Wharf and the marina -
click for a pdf.
This is a kind of combination of Plan#1 and Plan#4 (except that the vehicle access and parking is north and adjacent to the existing wharf.
This should make it easier to repair, replace the current structure at some point in the future.
Rather than total removal of the dock, is it not possible and much more inexpensive to just to remove the decking structure, when needed, filling in the pilings area with earth or shot rock leaving those pile in place)
then topping that fill with aggregate and surface it? This was done with the first 50 metres of the dock back in 1984 and I haven't seen an problems since.
It is like Plan#4 but why would this not use the existing structure that has stood the test of time in the last 100 years?
And why would you build a new pier for the Chief Commanda? How close it to it's best before date? Have they made any committments? Where and what are the initial cost/benefit analysis on this?
The build up of the area to the northwest (would happen in the due course of time anyway) and it just might save the City of North Bay and the Federal Government a great deal of money (there are possibly a number of litigation(s) due to the decrease in value of shoreline property for at least 10 kilometres to the southeast of North Bay simply by restoring the longshore drift to the now starving beaches.
Beside this that level area will furnish 5 hectares of additional land above the High Water Mark of Lake Nipissing and dry that could be used for recreation, rejuvinate something like the Winter Fur Carnival (always flooded out by water over the ice), in the summer it would a marvelous place for somethings like the by-weekly morning farmers market with plenty of parking, etc.
Thanks for reading this
121 Timmins Street
North Bay, ON P1B 4K2