Improving shoreline's accessibility through coastal engineering

 

- Toronto, Ontario

Have you heard of the Scarborough Bluffs? This iconic feature of Lake Ontario's shoreline resulted from the accumulation of sedimentary deposits over 12,000 years ago, and were formed by the natural processes of wind and water erosion into the Bluffs we know today.

The Bluffer's Park marina, built in the 1970s, contributed to the stabilization and vegetation of the bluffs, as well as the accumulation of a sand beach to the east. However, the existing sand beach has reached its capacity for additional sediment retention. Therefore, the entrance to the Bluffer's Park marina collects high volumes of coastal sediment deposits. The accumulation of sediments threatens safe boating access through the channel and must be frequently removed, leading to costly maintenance operations.

To address this problem, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Shoreplan Engineering Ltd. reached out to experts from the National Research Council of Canada's Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre. Our team built a 3D physical model of the marina entrance and tested the addition of a C-shaped headland. This new addition will promote the accumulation and retention of additional sand at the nearby beach, as well as increase vegetation. The Bluffer's Park headland will extend the peninsula by approximately 250 metres into the lake, and will feature a south-facing cobble beach and public gathering space. Moreover, this new headland will further enhance the aquatic habitat and reduce maintenance requirements related to the Bluffer's Park marina navigation channel.

Our experts also completed a complementary study looking at the beach located north of the new headland in order to monitor the proposed beach fill material under a range of typical and extreme conditions. Conducted under the Ocean program's coastal resilience technology theme, this project contributes to mitigating the impacts of climate change on Canada's shorelines and waterfront communities.

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