Update June 25, 2020
On June 25th, the project team met with Fuller Construction (successful contractor for the Britannia Beach dredging project) to go over a range of pre-construction and contractual issues. The contractor indicated that they intended to mobilize on site following Canada Day. This will involve the setting up of fencing around their construction and staging area, which will effectively close the beach to the public.
- The beach will be closed to the public no later than the week of July 6th.
- Construction on site is expected to start the first week in July with preparatory work to set up the site, including fencing. The perimeter fence secures the work zone and also excludes animals such as turtles from accessing the work area.
- In water work will commence on July 15th.
- The dredging work must be completed by October 15, 2020.
- The project is expected to be complete in Fall 2020.
The balance of Britannia Park (picnic area, pier, beach pavilion, pathways, etc.) will remain open during construction.
Summary of the Project
The riverbed in the swimming area of Britannia Beach will undergo construction work from July to October to restore the grade and proper water depth. As a result, the beach will be closed to swimming and all other beach activities this summer.
The work, called dredging, involves removing silt and sand that has collected on the riverbed from years of currents, waves and weather. The last time dredging was done at Britannia Beach was 1990. Right now, water depth in the swimming area has been reduced to less than half a metre at the peak of the swimming season when river levels are at their lowest.
The schedule for construction follows Ontario Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks regulations. It restricts when work on shorelines and in water can be conducted, to minimize impact on fish habitats and other significant aquatic species. The budget for the project is $3 million.
The construction area and access road will be fenced off for public safety. While the swimming and beach areas will be closed to the public, the Britannia pier, picnic area, beach building, Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre and patio will remain open throughout the construction period.
A temporary construction access road will be created west of the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre patio to permit truck and equipment traffic during the construction period. This temporary road will be removed, and the lands will be reinstated at the completion of the project.
Q: What does the dredging project include and why is it necessary?
A: In 1988, the beach was dredged to create a swimming area. Dredging involves removing silt and sand that has collected on the riverbed from years of currents, waves and weather.
Over time, a buildup of sediment has made the river basin too shallow to offer a suitable swimming environment.
It is now time to dredge the area again, as part of the ongoing maintenance to maintain the swimming environment, creating a gradual slope to 2.4 metres depth for the width of the existing beach. Sand will be removed from the riverbed to achieve this depth. This is a $3 million investment for the beach.
In advance of the work in the river, several environmental protection steps must be undertaken to comply with federal and provincial law. All approvals are now in place to proceed.
As part of the project the gull wire system that is currently in place to deter birds from landing, will be readjusted and then reinstated.
The beach is closed for the 2020 season to accommodate this project. It is expected to reopen in 2021.
Q: Why is this work being undertaken during COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation and the City of Ottawa is committed to protecting people and the community.
A: The Province of Ontario has allowed certain businesses and workplaces to reopen, including all municipal construction projects, as long as they comply with strict measures for public health and safe operations.
The City is working closely with the industry and complying with restrictions and recommendations provided by municipal, provincial and federal health officials, as well as the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
Q: Why didn’t the work start prior to the peak summer season to allow for the beach to be used in 2020?
A: In accordance with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Park (MECP) regulations, the dredging work can only be carried out between July 15 to October 15, 2020. In-water work dates are constrained to respect the habitat and needs of species present in this area.
Requests for review and permit applications have been approved by three other governing agencies: Transport Canada, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), and Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA.) Each approval and permit include conditions that must be followed in order for the work to proceed.
All approvals are now in place to proceed.
Q: Who is responsible for the work?
A: The City is responsible for the project and Thomas Fuller Construction (TFC) is undertaking the construction.
Q: What does the work involve?
A: Thomas Fuller Construction (TFC) will begin by installing a trailer, fencing to enclose the beach and then initiate the work required by the environmental approvals and permits to manage any animal species before the dredging equipment starts excavating.
The project team will maintain a schedule of work, control and haul sand as part of the sediment removal and ensure pedestrian safety using a traffic management plan.
Access for pedestrian and cyclists will be maintained outside the construction site. Signage regarding access will be placed at the site entrance and posted on the security fencing enclosing the construction area.
Q: How will the trucks get to the beach?
A: The trucks will travel down Greenview Avenue, in front of the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre and onto the beach along the north east side of the centre.
Q: Will there be noise controls?
A: For construction activity hours of work, the City of Ottawa follows provincial requirements and the City’s Noise By-law (2017-255).
Q: What about accessibility during construction?
A: Accessibility is an important consideration for the City of Ottawa. The City makes every effort to provide access through and around construction sites. If you require special accommodation, please contact the undersigned. Accessible formats and communication supports are available, upon request, at the following link:www.ottawa.ca/accessibleformat
Q: Can I still use the park?
A: The rest of the park, including the beach kiosk and restaurant will remain open to the public. Safety provisions for park patrons will be paramount during the construction activities:
During the second stage of reopenings, Emergency Provincial Orders remain in place prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people outside of your current household. This applies to all public use of opened outdoor park facilities. To allow for physical distancing and to limit the spread of COVID-19, maintain a two metre distance from others, avoid picking up someone else’s belongings or sports equipment, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
The washroom facilities at Britannia Beach are open and undergo extensive weekly cleaning. Ottawa Public Health advises washroom users to be vigilant in their preventative measures and behaviours – keeping two metres from people outside your immediate household while standing in line, washing your hands with soap and water, and using a hand sanitizer. For supplementary protection, wear a cloth mask in case physical distancing may be difficult to achieve.
Q: When will the beach re-open?
A: The Beach is expected to reopen in 2021.