News

More bank beautification for Otterville dam

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

Improvements to the west bank of the Otterville dam have received much praise, and the volunteer group responsible for the work has been given permission to continue with improvements to the east bank after repairs have been made to the walls of the dam.

Improvements to the west bank of the Otterville dam have received much praise, and the volunteer group responsible for the work has been given permission to continue with improvements to the east bank after repairs have been made to the walls of the dam.

A group of Otterville residents has been given the go-ahead to keep working on their improvements to the banks of Otter Creek at the Otterville dam.

The group, organized by members of the Otterville Mill Car Club, has completed the project of beautifying the west bank of the dam, and after input from the community, has asked township council for permission to carry on and do the same to the east bank.

A report by car club member Ron Smith, former township public works manager, was received at council's Aug. 8 meeting. In it, Smith points out that the second phase of the bank project will include setting three double rows of armour stone along the east bank with tall grasses and bushes planted between them.

A local company was hired to place the stones on the west bank, and Smith's letter to council indicates the same will be done for the east bank.

Wenda Smith told the Gazette the project has been in the works for a long time, as the car club has saved funds for about 20 years to put toward the dam project. She said it isn't only the car club volunteers who have been involved, but also many businesses and individuals who have donated money, time and machinery toward getting the improvements done.

Council agreed to allow the group to go ahead, but first there are some improvements that need to be done to the dam itself.

Also at the Aug. 8 council meeting, public works manager Marty Lenaers brought forward a report that outlined the findings of a condition survey carried out on the dam last year. While the dam itself was found to be in moderate condition, with no urgent issues, there was a recommendation that the township carry out repairs to the retaining walls and wing walls on the downstream side of the dam as well as install some safety features such as fencing or signs.

Lenaers' report states this is the first official and documented inspection and safety review conducted on the dam.

“Aside from being a focal point of the village, the dam is also historically significant to our township,” Lenaers said in his report.

Making not of the west bank makeover, Lenaers said the group responsible has received high praise for what they've done.

“The maintenance suggested in this report would provide this group with the proper foundation to move ahead with their work,” he said.

The cost of the repairs to the dam walls is estimated at $20,000, with another $1,500 for safety items. Lenaers suggested the funding be provided with $6,000 remaining in the conservation reserve and the remainder from the tax rate stabilization reserve.

Council approved this recommendation as well, indicating the repairs be done before the volunteers begin their improvements.