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City scrambles to keep garages, back yards from falling into ravine

Emergency work done behind Fort Creek Drive in Millennium Court subdivision area
Stone soil collapse
Stock image

The City of Sault Ste. Marie spent $227,370 last month in emergency efforts to stabilize a failed ravine slope that threatened backyards and garages behind Fort Creek Drive.

"In May of 2020, the city was made aware that there was a significant slope failure in the ravine behind 136 and 140 Fort Creek Drive, which is just downstream of the Millennium Court outfall," says Carl Rumiel, manager of design and transportation engineering.

The city retained STEM Engineering to investigate the problem.

"STEM’s recommendation was that remedial measures be implemented at the earliest practical time to prevent further slippage in the current failed slope," Rumiel says in a report prepared for Monday's meeting of City Council

"Any additional movement could affect the rear yards at the top of slope and the nearby rear yard garages. This ravine carries water from city roads and residential properties."

"Further erosion to this slope could adversely effect storm water drainage upstream," Rumiel said.

Trimount Construction Group Inc. was awarded $132,313 in emergency funding to stabilize the slope.

"The majority of this work was completed between Aug. 24 and Aug. 28. During construction, soft, wet soil conditions in the ravine caused significant losses of the rock treatment sinking into the soil," Rumiel said.

"This resulted in extra rock being required and an additional $65,000 was spent on rock above the original quotation from Trimount."

City councillors will be asked Monday to sign off on the emergency expenditures.

"Over the past several years, the public works and engineering services department has struggled with the maintenance of a storm water management pond at the storm outfall for the Millennium Court subdivision," Rumiel said in his report.

"Attempts to stabilize the...pond have resulted in further erosion and the pond not being able to meet the quality requirements for which it was intended."

"In February 2020, staff made the decision to abandon the... pond and provide a rock-lined channel to direct water away from the outfall pipe to the ravine with the intention of installing an oil-grit separator under a future capital construction program to meet water-quality requirements."

Studio 10/The Dime nightclub

In other news, councillors will be asked next week to spend $350,000 to acquire two properties on Hudson Street where Studio 10 and The Dime nightclub used to be.

The building was destroyed by fire on Feb. 11, 2019.

Its adult entertainment parlour licence expired in January of this year and was not renewed by the owner, who approached the city about selling the site.

"The acquisition of these properties is consistent with and supports the city's downtown strategy, new James Street  neighbourhood strategy and recent investments in the former St. Mary's Paper property," says city solicitor Karen Fields.

"In addition, this will further improve the appearance of a major entrance to the community along with the new International Bridge plaza and welcome signage," Fields says in her report prepared for City Council.

Monday's City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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