Public weighs in on proposed removal of Leamington breakwall
A fatal crash in 2011 has the Ministry of Transportation considering the removal of the Leamington breakwall, but many boaters believe it serves an important purpose.
At a public meeting Thursday night, boater Trevor Buffet explained "It's a sight line for approaching the Leamington Harbour and as soon as I see that breakwall I know I'm close."
Sailor Larry Dick agrees "I think it's ridiculous to remove it...when we come into the marina we can't use our engines so we have to drop our sails and of course when the wind is up and the waves are big, we tuck in behind it where the water is smoother and the wind is somewhat reduced."
Ontario's Ministry of Transportation is suggesting the breakwater should be removed.
Amy McGuire with the ministry says, "Factors include savety, navigational safety and the benefit that it provides to the Ministry of Transportation ferry service."
Officials estimate the cost of removing the breakwall at $15-$25 million. The cost to repair it is estimated at $3 million.
Buffet says "If you do repair and extend it to where it should be, it reduces wave action in the harbour which means boats have an easier time getting in and out."
The debate was brought to light for two reasons, because it was in desperate need of repair and because of a fatal collision.
A boat carrying five people slammed into the breakwall as it headed to the marina around 11 p.m. on June 5, 2011, leaving three people dead.
But Dick points out "There's other rock piles in practically every other marina on Lake Erie that are there. You have to know where they are, and unfortunately those people made a mistake and they paid for it."