Moncton city councillor Greg Turner says something needs to be done right away about the erosion along a section of Petitcodiac River before the winter season hits.
“The erosion is really becoming quite dramatic and it is impacting right now the city trail system,” said Turner.
He added that part of the trail’s pavement is starting to break away.
“It’s really dangerous there right now.”
Turner fears that the roots of a tree which run under the trail near Bore Park in Moncton will topple over in a wind storm this winter and rip up the trail.
As a result, he is calling on the city to address the problem before the winter months.
Turner also lives in the condos that sit right beside the trail, and is worried about his property in the long term.
“We all love the river and we all love to see it come back to life but at the same time we have got to make sure that our infrastructure is protected.”
He wants the city to extend the rock breakwater that the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure placed along parts of the river in 2011-2012.
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Turner says provincial crews halted work on the section of the river in front of the condos at the time following a request from the Petitcodiac River Keepers.
He now wants that work resumed.
Shane Boyd with The Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance says rock rip-raps can create more erosion in the long term and he would prefer the city take a more natural approach, such as planting trees or grasses with deep root systems along the river to help hold the bank together.
But given how close the river bank is to city infrastructure he said that might not be a viable option and the city may have no other option but to extend the rip-rap.
“The city might want to look into combining the two strategies too and put in some natural infrastructure where they can,” said Boyd.
The city’s director of parks and leisure operations, Dan Hicks said that city staff are working on a plan and will make recommendations on how to address the problem to council in about a month.
He said they are monitoring the erosion and at this point there is no risk to the public.
“It is unlikely that it will have an immediate failure at this point. It has typically been a slow process,” said Hicks.
Hicks said the tree on the riverbank next to the eroded bank will be cut down as a precaution. But he doubts if any other erosion prevention work will be done before the winter months because the permits required to do the job will take time to obtain.
He also doesn’t expect the erosion will worsen much over the winter.
“Typically the winter actually affords a little more protection when the ice banks build up along the edges.”