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Dec. 9, 2019 | Monday
Local News
Editorial: Erosion crisis needs creative solutions
Fallen trees in the water at Niagara Shores Park. The park is losing an average of 1.1 metres of land per year. (Rene Bertschi/Special)

Niagara-on-the-Lake’s unprotected shoreline is falling into the lake.

For almost three months, The Lake Report has been investigating the erosion crisis, working hard over the summer to bring readers the most comprehensive look at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s eroding banks and bluffs ever undertaken. And we’re proud to have accomplished that goal.

But during our research, a couple of important questions came to mind, a key one being: What is the future of our public parks?

With one metre of our Lake Ontario shoreline being eaten away each year, and complicated factors preventing work in some areas, there is no easy answer.

Despite a common misperception that erosion is destroying the habitat of Ontario’s threatened bank swallows at Niagara Shores Park, we have learned that the erosion is actually necessary for the birds’ habitat.

So where does this leave us, when trying to ensure a park remains?

The bank swallow colonies present a challenge — but it’s one we are confident can be overcome with critical and creative thinking.

If the birds require a steep bank, let’s find out how to give it to them, while protecting the park at the same time. Niagara Shores Park is a gem, a beautiful oasis, and it is deserving of protection. But if the park goes, so do the swallows.

Secondly, we have heard from residents who want beach access. As one of our interviewees, Dave Glasz, astutely says in our documentary, “What is Niagara-on-the-Lake if you don’t have access to the lake?”

The Lake Report encourages citizens and corporations to step up and provide private funding for Bird Studies Canada, to help the non-profit organization experiment with artificial habitats for bank swallows, and for research to help create guidelines for government bodies and developers that are implementing shoreline protection, to help mitigate damage to swallow colonies.

The Lake Report also encourages Parks Canada to be proactive about the erosion of Niagara Shores Park. Despite the lack of concern about heritage, for residents who use the park now and in the future, it is a place of history and memories.

The shoreline protection that must be done should preserve beach access at the park, and include beach nourishment, to create an open-access beach for the public to use.

You will find our video documentary at
NiagaraShores.com, and a special thank you to all who helped make this project possible on Page 13. And, if you’re curious about some of those who put it all together, check out a photo from our staff and contributors gathering over the weekend. It’s amazing to see how far this little community newspaper has come and how much our readers care about their community.

We’re the paper that could. And will. And does.

Thanks for supporting us.

editor@niagaranow.com

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