The long-awaited report examining the entire 120 kilometre-long Lake Erie shoreline from Wheatley to the eastern boundary of Chatham-Kent, including parts of Rondeau Bay, has been published.
Dubbed the Chatham-Kent Lake Erie Shoreline Study, the report looks at several options to deal with erosion and flood control in the area, including moving some buildings and homes and relocating some roads.
The cost of carrying out all the protection work would range from $132 million to $217 million.
When it comes to Erie Shore Drive near Erieau, there are 120 properties which the report suggests could be bought out rather than protected.
Some of these homes were evacuated earlier this year because of a failing dike that needed to be repaired, leaving some homeowners unsure of the future of their properties.
The report suggests it would cost between $59.2 million and $84.4 million to protect the properties and agricultural land for 50 years. However, it would only cost approximately $42.5 million to $51.7 million to buy out the properties and protect the agricultural land.
Report author, and president of Zuzek Inc., Peter Zuzek cautioned that the buyout figures are based on 2019’s assessed values, and there are no guarantees a buyout package could be arranged.
“There’s still a great deal of uncertainty about it,” he said, adding that the report is intended “to provide planning options for the community to consider.”
READ | The Chatham-Kent Lake Erie Shoreline Study
The president of the Erie Shore Drive Property Owners Association said some property owners might be willing to sell, but she added that there are alternatives.
“It’s my understanding that included in the Zuzek report was the mention of an opportunity to look for a solution under the Drainage Act and we certainly would be interested in doing that,” said Terra Cadeau.
The report’s findings are based on predictions of what the new normal highs for water levels in the great lakes will be, as well as the assumption that there will be no winter ice cover on Lake Erie by the late 21st Century.
The report will be presented to Chatham-Kent council on May 4.