BRISTOL – The issue of erosion management along the waterfront in Norway Bay proved so popular that the meeting on August 11 had to be moved from the Bristol council chambers to the Jack Graham Hall to accommodate the large number of people who attended. The Quebec Environment Ministry requires that steps be taken to control erosion before any more sand can be added to the public beach at Norway Bay or to other access ways along River Road.
Mayor Brent Orr introduced the consultants who have been mandated by Bristol council to study the problem and develop management strategies. The consultants were from the ABV des 7 (Agency of 7 watersheds), a non-profit organization; President, Giorgio Vecco, explained their goal is to improve the water quality of the seven main rivers’ watersheds located on its territory, with an aim towards sustainable development. Accompanying Vecco was environmental engineering researcher, Alyson Furber.
“The purpose of this meeting is to introduce
ourselves. We are just beginning the project, no
decisions have been made. We want to hear your thoughts and ideas,” stated Furber, who went on to explain the numerous causes of erosion and give examples of measures to slow it down or prevent it.
Furber also helped explain why the Environment Ministry opposed continued beach “nourishment” (adding sand) with no erosion
control. “Eroded soil or
sediment is a form of
pollution. Among other things, it darkens the water which affects water
temperature and, in turn the fish and vegetation.”
Both Furber and Vecco emphasized that the goal of the study is to come up with solutions that are viable for the population who use the beach and access ways. While explaining there would be other opportunities for public input during the project, Furber said, “We can’t finish the study without you because you are part of it!”
“You are the social environment,” added Vecco. “Your access to the water is degraded because of the erosion and we are here to find solutions that will work for you and also protect the natural environment”.
Following some initial hostility caused, at least in part, by residents’ frustration about the ticketing of docks, audience reaction was positive and participation was constructive.
“The presentation was very informative. While the timeline to complete the study and the potential
solutions specific to the Bay were not provided, I was still happy to attend to
better understand the study context, scope and objectives. I appreciate that Bristol has undertaken this study in hopes that they will be able to present a viable solution to the Ministry
of Environment,” said Norway Bay resident Barb Arseneault.