Trent University is beginning work to restabilize the West Bank of the Otonabee River between Bata Library and Champlain College. The work is necessary for the future safety of the campus community and infrastructure. Contractors will remove the existing gabions – chainlink wire baskets filled with rocks – and rebuild the shoreline with an armour stone wall. Work will begin the week of July 24, and the project is expected to be completed this winter.
“Not only will this work stabilize West Bank and the Faryon Bridge, but the final design also includes many features that will make campus more open and accessible. The addition of an accessible trail and stairs to the water will enable better access to the river for ceremony and recreation,” said Bruno Bianco, Associate Vice-President, Facilities Management at Trent University. “The armour stone will add much-needed stability to the shoreline, and the finished project will add to the beauty of the Symons campus and the Otonabee River.”
Retaining wall replacement will occur in phases, starting north at Champlain College, and working south to Bata Library. A ceremony for the land and water has been conducted by an Elder from Curve Lake First Nation ahead of work beginning. Contractors will access the wall from the water via barges (flat-bottomed boats moored adjacent to the shore). Landscaping and replanting will occur in the fall and spring, following the species list identified in the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan (TLNAP).
Improved Access and Accessibility
Founders Walk, the paved path running along the river from Blackburn Hall to Bata Library will be extended under the Faryon Bridge to Champlain College. This accessible pathway will add to improved mobility options across the campus. The new shoreline will include additional stairs to the water, improving safety and access for recreation and Indigenous ceremony.
“Mobility and transportation methods are areas of consideration in the Trent Lands Plan, and the designs for the shoreline build on the vision of both access from the water to campus, and better access to the water for everyone at Trent,” AVP Bianco explained.
A number of environmental protection measures have been put in place. Turbidity curtains will be installed to control the flow of sediment into the river. Turbidity levels will be monitored regularly throughout construction. Additionally, the in-water work has been scheduled to start after the fish spawning season to avoid disruption. All studies, designs and work plans have been reviewed and approved by Trent Severn Waterway/Parks Canada, Otonabee Conservation, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, City of Peterborough and First Nations Land Consultation Officers.
Following a competitive bid process, WSP Consulting have designed the riverbank, and Drain Brothers are the contractors completing the work.