September 24, 2021
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Norfolk council will take another run at repairing Misner Dam in Port Dover.The new council elected in October has unanimously agreed to another round of tenders for the project, which has an estimated cost in the range of $2 million.“We will request bidders,” said Port Dover Coun. Amy Martin, sponsor of Tuesday’s motion.“We can expect this to return to council after the summer break, at which time council will decide which bid we accept.”Repairing the dam is the first step toward rehabilitating the Silver Lake mill pond in back of it.Hundreds of Port Dover residents have lobbied for the dam’s repair over the past decade. They recognize that stabilizing the dam is a potential stepping stone to dredging Silver Lake and restoring it as a picturesque feature in the centre of town.Council agreed to another round of bids after considering the findings of the Task Force on the Misner Dam and Silver Lake Revitalization Projects.In recent months, community stakeholders have analyzed the numerous reports and engineering studies performed to date. Task force highlights include:Removing Misner dam would be expensive and create serious silting problems in the lower Lynn River and in the harbour in Port Dover. This in turn would generate repeated, long-term dredging costs to keep the river below the dam and the harbour passable. The plan to repair the dam meets all federal and provincial regulatory requirements. An alternative to repairing the dam would trigger additional delays and another expensive round of engineering studies and environmental assessments. The dam repair is a necessary step toward rehabilitating Silver Lake. However, the task force recognizes that the mill pond is not the county’s responsibility and should not be improved at county expense. The county could be asked to contribute in areas that affect municipal property, operations and infrastructure. Norfolk County will not be responsible for obtaining permits and authorizations for any operation regarding Silver Lake. The funds needed to dredge or otherwise rehabilitate Silver Lake will be raised in the community. The Port Dover Lions Club – in partnership with the Port Dover Waterfront Preservation Association – will be at the forefront of this campaign. After council agreed to another round of bids, Martin expressed confidence that Port Dover and surrounding area can take care of the Silver Lake rehabilitation without Norfolk’s help. Martin said the community groups involved in the task force already represent 500 highly-motivated supporters.“I expect full support in the community,” Martin said. “I think the public support is there and has always been there.”After years of study and expensive preparatory work, the former Norfolk council voted against moving forward with the project last June. A firm had bid $2.1 million to repair and stabilize the dam. The offer, however, was declined in a surprise 5-4 vote.MSonnenber[email protected]