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October 23, 2019

Beneath the waves

After a full year of preparation, dredging of the Port Hope Harbour is on track to begin this fall.

From motor vehicles to buoys, CNL expects to uncover some fascinating sunken finds within the sediment, once it has been removed as part of the PHAI cleanup.

Though the items are expected to rapidly deteriorate once removed from the place which has been their home for a number of years, any retrieved items will be carefully monitored and controlled, and watched by workers on site even if only for entertainment value.

“From the bathymetry survey we completed, we know there is at least one car down there. We don’t anticipate that it will come out in one piece though,” said Sam Diamond, Project Coordinator.

The vehicle, possibly from the 1980 flood of the Ganaraska River, will just be one item to keep an eye on. With the Port Hope Harbour never being fully dredged, the team is on the careful lookout for items of archeological value. These items can range from precontact to indigenous. With a team of archeologists on standby, any exciting finds in the well-documented Port Hope Harbour will be treated with the appropriate care to meet the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport guidelines.

In the meantime, work to establish the laydown area for the sediment containment tubes that will be used for dewatering is underway, and the portable water treatment plant is being constructed to treat and discharge water back to the harbour from the Centre Pier.

Preparations for dredging began with electrofishing of the inner harbour in 2018 to remove fish from the work area and with the installation of the stage one wave attenuator, which is intended to isolate the work area from the Lake. Contractors then focused on shoring and bracing the existing harbour walls to facilitate dredging.

All work in water is affected by weather, permitting by regulatory agencies and other exigencies. Work is expected to continue until December or January or until the weather makes it difficult to continue.

As a reminder, access to the Centre Pier and the harbour is restricted until the cleanup ends, expected in the next five years.

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