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The Waterfront Restoration Project


Project Overview

The Waterfront Restoration Project started as a significant initiative imperative to improving the aging seawall structure along the river and the underlying building foundation. The purpose of the seawall is primarily flood protection but also protection of The Oakville Club’s over 100-year-old heritage buildings. The existing seawall is composed of sheet piles covering about half of its length, gabion baskets constituting a quarter, and concrete blocks making up the remaining quarter.
 
In 2022, a notable failure occurred in a sheet pile section, resulting in the closure of a 40-foot segment for boating activities. Conservation Halton has mandated the replacement of all deteriorated sections of the seawall to ensure its continued effectiveness. The conclusion of this work by Shoreplan Engineering is that we must redesign our seawall to protect The Oakville Club’s buildings, including our main building, badminton/pickleball courts, fitness centre, and court five.

Due to the complex nature of this project, Shoreplan has recommended that The Oakville Club execute this project, subject to Member approval on Thursday, August 8, 2024. The project will be completed by early Spring, 2025. Upon completion of the project, the membership experience will be enhanced as follows:

  • The Club will gain an extra 3 feet of deck space along the length of Dockside.
  • Dockside Dining will be refreshed with new furniture and permanent shade structures. 
  • Finger docks will provide a safer experience for sailors and visitors. 
  • Tennis Court 5 will be rebuilt with a new surface.
  • Enhanced landscaping in the surrounding areas.
  • The North Parking Lot area will be rebuilt.

Project Scope
  • The decommissioning of the existing shore protection works as required, and subsequent construction of a new anchored steel sheet pile wall.
  • The proposed seawall will be raised by approximately one foot to reduce the risk of flooding and damage to the building going forward. Shoreplan has also recommended that we cap the seawall and deck with a concrete cap to help reinforce the foundations for all our buildings.
  • The new deck will be approximately three feet wider, offering additional space for movement.
  • New finger docks to ensure safe and convenient access for our sailors.
  • Enhance the patio dining experience by upgrading the design to include comfortable and casual seating, improved shade coverage, and a full-service bar with a point-of-sale station for convenient service.
  • The North Parking Lot area will be rebuilt.
  • Replacement of the existing gabion wall to include seating and landscaping.
  • Tennis Court 5 will be rebuilt with a new surface.

Benefits
  1. Protection of our 150-year-old building and flood control.
  2. The new dock will be extended by 3 feet. Enhancements to our food and beverage services are on the horizon, including the addition of a fixed bar service area with point-of-sale for convenient and quick service, permanent shade coverage from sunlight and rain, and refreshed furniture and greenery.
  3. The new finger docks ensure safety for our sailors and continue to attract prospective sailing Members. The North Parking Lot will be rebuilt and will provide a new space for Members.
  4. Rebuilding Court 5 with a new surface offers benefits to our Members. By enhancing the landscaping surrounding the court, we are creating an aesthetically pleasing environment for players.

Project FAQ

1. Will the Club remain open during construction?
Yes. The Club will remain open during construction. The ongoing work on the seawall may cause some disruption during construction, but we will make every effort to minimize any inconvenience. The bulk of the seawall construction will be conducted from floating barges in 16 Mile Creek.
 
The seawall work carried out by the Town of Oakville across 16 Mile Creek is similar to our project and our engineering advisor (Shoreplan) was also the Town of Oakville’s engineer.  Shoreplan are very experienced and will help minimize disruption to the Club’s operations.
 
2. How long will the project take to complete?
The project is scheduled to begin on September 15th, 2024, and be completed in early Spring of 2025.
 
3. How is the project being funded?
The Board has analyzed different funding models including debt, capital savings, and member assessment. At this time, based on the estimated project cost, the Board is recommending a combination of funding the project using existing Capital Savings and debt financing.
 
4. Will access to the Dockside Patio be restricted? 
Yes. The last day for Club use of the dock area is September 6th, 2024. Sailors will be required to remove their sailboats by September 10th, 2024. The Upper Deck will remain open for Member dining. 

5. Will Club events and activities continue throughout the project?
Yes, Club events and activities will continue. Learn more about upcoming events in our weekly Club Connection newsletter or by visiting Member Central.

6. What is the history of the current waterfront and seawall?
The last sheet pile seawall was installed in the 1980 period and is located adjacent to and in front of our Clubhouse, Badminton Courts Building, Fitness Centre, and Court 5. This seawall was engineered in 1980 for a 50-year design lifespan. The gabion basket portion of the wall has an unknown history but is showing signs of serious wear and tear below the pool area. The concrete stones located in the North Parking Lot are also in poor condition; the earth below is eroding and in danger of collapsing.
 
In the year 2000, the Club commissioned a study known as The CB Fairn Report which identified a weakness in the seawall and forecasted its collapse. In 2022, a partial collapse occurred which resulted in serious damage. In response to the failure, an emergency permit was obtained from The Conservation Authority to use large boulders to prevent a complete collapse and erosion of gravel fill under the deck/in front of the Badminton Courts Building.

7. Why does the seawall need to be repaired and/or replaced and how much confidence do we have in the repair cost estimates?
The Oakville Club has engaged with Shoreplan since 2012. The justification for the seawall repairs is covered in Shoreplan’s Summary Report, located in the Appendix. Following the flooding of our Club in 2017 and 2019, Conservation Halton requested that all the seawalls in the area be raised by approximately one foot which will reduce flood risk to the Club’s property.

Shoreplan has worked across the Town of Oakville for many years and have engineered and completed all the town-owned seawall and coastal installations including The Lakeside Park Pier, Tannery Park, and Shipyard Park (under construction opposite our Club). Based on Shoreplan's extensive experience, we are confident in the engineering design, cost estimates and tender documents. Furthermore, the cost estimate includes a reasonable contingency amount.

8. Are the various regulatory approvals in place to complete the project?
The Oakville Club has received a permit from Conservation Halton (the lead regulatory agency) to proceed. We are working closely with Shoreplan and the relevant agencies, including Conservation Halton, the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Town of Oakville, Transport Canada, and the Region of Halton.
 
9. Based on its current condition, does the entire length of the seawall need to be replaced?
Shoreplan’s assessment of the existing seawalls identified that a significant portion requires urgent repair. We are addressing two areas of concern:
  1. Flood Control: Following the flooding of our Clubhouse in 2017 and 2019, the flooding risk will be reduced.
  2. Protect our Building: Our Clubhouse is 150 years old, and we need to protect the Badminton Court Buildings and Fitness Centre from coastal flooding, erosion, etc. In 2022, our seawall failed in front of the Badminton Court section.
 
10. What steps are being taken to prevent damage to existing buildings during the seawall construction?
We have engaged a structural engineering company (John G. Cooke and Associates) who are experts in assessing heritage and historic buildings. Following an assessment, they are working closely with Shoreplan to determine any constraints required to monitor and protect our building. The major areas of concern are vibration and existing conditions of foundations.
 
11. Are we legally obliged to complete the entire seawall replacement or just the damaged portion?
Yes. We have a legal opinion from our lawyer that identifies the Club's potential liability if the seawall is not repaired or replaced. We committed to Conservation Halton (governing body) to replace the entire seawall, following the receipt of a permit to undertake the temporary repairs to the defective portion. In addition, if we do not complete this project, the Club will have difficulty insuring our buildings.
 
12. Why don’t we leave the construction of the new seawall to the Town/Region?
This is not an option if we want to maintain control of the dock area. If we give up our rights to repair and protect our property, the Club could lose control of the shoreline rights. The Oakville Club is the only private property on 16 Mile Creek, south of the Lakeshore Road Bridge.
 
13. How have we addressed the environmental concerns of the relevant agencies of the Region of Halton, the Province of Ontario, and the Federal Government?
Extensive environmental studies were undertaken as part of the project design.  There are three endangered fish species in 16 Mile Creek of primary concern:
  1. American Eel
  2. Redside Dace
  3. Silver Shiner
These three fish species are endangered in the Province of Ontario and to mitigate impacts to these species, Fisheries and Oceans Canada have requested that we install in-stream silt curtains in front of the construction.
 
14. How many bidders have responded to the Tender Call on June 12th, 2024?
We have six bidders that were pre-qualified by the Town of Oakville. Shoreplan is familiar with all firms and their qualifications. Bids are due on July 5th, 2024, and we hope that the six pre-qualified bidders submit complying bids.

15. How will the Membership be impacted by the construction of the new seawall? Will it affect Member experience in any way, and if so, how?
Construction is scheduled to start on September 15th and be completed in early Spring of 2025. During the construction phase, it is expected that there will be impacts to members.
 
Upon completion of the project, the membership experience will be enhanced as follows:
  • The dock will gain an extra 3 feet of space.  
  • Dockside Dining will be refreshed with new furniture
  • Finger docks will provide a safer and enhanced experience for sailors
  • Tennis Court 5 will be rebuilt with a new surface.
  • Enhanced landscaping by the pool.
  • The North Parking Lot area will be rebuilt and enhanced. 
16. Are the new finger docks necessary and why did we the Club decide on floating docks?
The current docks are considered less safe (versus finger docks) for boat access. Even if we don’t upgrade to finger docks, it is necessary to reinstall the electrical wiring, water system, and off-ramps from the new deck.
 
17. How many slips will the club lose if we switch to floating docks?
The design will result in the loss of 7 boating slip. Currently, the Club has 46 slips (including 3 slips eliminated due to safety and potential damage to sailboats). With floating docks, we will have 39 fully functioning slips. The new docks will also improve flexibility by allowing our staff to move finger docks to accommodate new sailboats.
 
18. With the increase in the width of the seawall and the configuration of the new finger docks, will there be enough room to maneuver boats in and out of the channel?
Yes. Our dock design does not create a pinch point for the movement of vessels. We have submitted two dock designs to Transport Canada for review and are awaiting their final comments.
 
19. Will members be able to use the North Parking Lot for parking?
Conservation Halton has requested that in the future, we do not allow parking in the North Parking Lot. Members may use the area as a drop-off point only. With additional landscaping and storage solutions for our canoe/kayaks, we plan to create an enhanced area for Members to enjoy.
 
20. What is the purpose of the retaining wall at the bottom of the pool hill?
The retaining wall at the bottom of the pool hill provides structural support for the pool area.  The new retaining wall will replace the existing failing gabion baskets and will keep the pool from shifting. The design will also add 3 feet of additional deck space which will enhance movement.
 
21. Is there any way to replace the seawall at the south end of the property without causing damage to Court 5?
No. Sea wall designs require that the retaining wall be anchored into the stream bank using rock anchors into the native material.  This will require disturbance of the material below Court 5 which cannot be undertaken without damaging the existing tennis court surface. Also, due to the requirement to complete much of the project from in-stream barges, Court 5 will be used as a staging and access area for the construction vehicles. 
 
22. Has the Club considered replacing Tennis Court #5 with a Clay Court?
Yes. Clay courts are a significant initial investment (versus the existing style hard court) and there are ongoing maintenance costs to consider (new equipment, seasonal resurfacing). This makes it a challenging proposition for a single court.
 
23. What happens if the project is not completed in time for the 2025 Sailing season?
Paul Carter, our Facilities & Dock Manager is working with the Town of Oakville to obtain public slips to accommodate our sailors.