New gates fail to solve water loss problem on Parrsboro aboiteau

Council planning to install clay at base of bridge until permanent fix

Andrew Wagstaff
Published on May 29, 2014

PARRSBORO - The unsightly mud of a dry aboiteau continues to be an issue in Parrsboro, now that new gates under the Two Islands Road bridge have failed to remedy the water loss problem.

Town council decided at its May 27 monthly session to apply for the necessary approvals with the department of environment to place clay around the base of the bridge structure to reduce the loss of water.

“It’s not working the way we had hoped,” said Mayor Lois Smith. “It’s a work in progress, but it’s not to our satisfaction. It’s disappointing.”

The four new gates, which were fabricated at the local Granby plant, were installed under the bridge last week, but water levels in the aboiteau have remained low.

The main leak is underneath the gates, an issue that was not resolved with the installation of armour rock by the provincial department of transportation and infrastructure renewal, according to deputy mayor Lisa Ward.

“The fundamental problem is that there is a hole under the gate,” explained CAO Ray Hickey. “It’s better, and probably with a good rain it would fill up a lot fuller and drain a lot slower than it has in the past, but at the last committee meeting council said it wanted to apply to the department of environment to apply some clay to pack in the hole in the rocks a bit.”

The work would be relatively inexpensive, and could help as a temporary solution until the province replaces the entire bridge structure. That project has yet to be announced, although it is reported to be on the department’s five-year plan.

Resident Harriet McCready, who was in the audience for the meeting, raised the concern that the new gates might actually cause more resistance for the draining water, resulting in more erosion of the vulnerable area underneath.

“That would strengthen the argument to get some emergency funding, because we don’t want to have someone on that bridge when it gives,” she said. “

Hickey assured her that the structure was sound, but Coun. Ron Shaw said a solution is needed sooner rather than later.

“I feel it needs looked at right away because it’s getting dangerous,” he said. “There is less water there now than there was last year… there are some real issues that need to be addressed.”