Concerns over ‘shocking’ road erosion in Wheatley Provincial Park
WHEATLEY, Ont. – Officials in Chatham-Kent describe it as an alarming scene inside Wheatley Provincial Park, where erosion along Lake Erie is taking a drastic toll.
Part of the roadway that leads to the beach is falling into the water.
“It is shocking,” says Chatham-Kent councilor Melissa Harrigan, who shared a picture of the erosion on social media.
“I think that's why I posted it, I don't always want to do a 'shock and awe' media post but I really think people need to understand what it is when we say, the erosion or the shoreline, because it's real and it's very intense,” Harrigan says. “It's eroding at such a fast rate and so much faster than we could have ever anticipated.”
The park is a protected area in the Municipality Of Chatham-Kent, though it's operated and maintained by Ontario Parks.
Currently, the park is closed for the season and vehicular traffic is restricted, but outdoor enthusiasts can still walk past the gate at their own leisure and at their own risk.
Similarly, Talbot Trail just east of the park remains closed due to lakeside erosion concerns.
The old Highway 3 was shut down to traffic back in July.
On Monday night, Chatham-Kent council discussed the idea of permanently closing that dangerous section of Talbot Trail until proper repairs are made.
Harrigan tells CTV News the municipality is exploring short and long term solutions, but no decision will be made until a shoreline study that focuses on erosion is presented in March.
The next round of community consultations about that study takes place on Nov. 26.
High winds on Monday also forced the closure of Erie Shore Drive to everyone but local residents, between Bisnett Line and Erieau Road.
Officials say strong wave action and sustained winds are pushing water over the 120 homes and cottages onto the roadway.
CTV News did reach out to Ontario Parks to comment on the situation in Wheatley, but we have not received a response.
Harrigan says all possible long term solutions are expensive and that officials don't want to see any repair investments washed away with further erosion.