Archive for July, 2012

A CRITICAL REPORT ON THE RMVB SHORELINE CONCLUDES: Revetments: Doomed to Fail and Doomed to Destroy the Beaches

Last night on July 23rd, Peter Zuzek of Baird Engineering gave a very strong, intelligent, sensitive, scientific and lay term comprehensible presentation regarding Shoreline Protection at a meeting at the Sports Centre for the RMVB community at large.

(Baird has been hired by the RMVB as in independent and unbiased source to analyze the possible causes for our erosion issues and to propose possible solutions for them. They have been actively working since October studying our particular shoreline dynamics, content and complexities.)

One of the first things Mr. Zuzek said to start the evening was that “We (Baird) are here to try and remove the emotion and focus on the science.”

After listening and contemplating his factual and science based reports, combined with the discussions following, two things became emphatically clear by evening end.

In his companies independent and unbiased opinion:

1. Revetments in front of sand beaches will ultimately destroy the beaches in front of them.

2. Revetments on the banks in the RMVB will eventually, over time, fail.  They will not be able to maintain their capacity to protect the shore over the longer term.

(Note: This information is coming from a company that builds revetments all over the world. They fully agree that these structures do serve their purpose when they are built and maintained properly in the proper environment for them to function and succeed. There is a proper place for them to be built and to effectively work. However, it is their opinion, the shorelines of the RMVB is not one of those places if our goal is to protect the beaches we currently have. “We can build them, but you don‘t want them in front of your public beach.”)

Mr. Zuzek made a critical point very clear (through a very effective slide presentation)that stabilizing the bank –through rip rap or revetments — does not, nor will not completely stop all the erosion taking place. Nor will it help the beach in front of it.

Erosion, by the way, that is a completely normal and natural occurrence.

He showed that the problem with a rip rap or revetment is that it denies the replenishment of the sand to the beach that occurs through natural erosion from the cliffs and banks. (This is how the greatest amount of sand comes to our beach in conjunction with a smaller amount from the currents.)

What many people are not aware of is that through the soil samples of the area they have been collecting it has become clear that approximately 100 to 150 meters out from the beach shoreline the sand stops and the bottom of the lake is then clay. Thus the actual “sand area” under water that the beach can draw from is relatively small. There is not nearly as plentiful and abundant an amount of sand in the lake bottom as many have assumed.

More importantly, once you get to the clay area, erosion actually takes place there too.

It was then pointed out to the surprise of many that very much the same erosion process happens at this point — where sand meets clay underwater — as it does on the banks where we can see it happening!

This underwater erosion is called downcutting.  (Again, all a natural occurrence.)

It turns out revetments are actually doomed to cause two disasters.

First, a revetment problematically stops the natural process of erosion of the banks from which beach sand replenishment actually comes. Leading to an eventual scouring and removal of the beach before them.

Secondly, all the while, the revetment then actually increases the irreversible downcutting under the water.

This unseen and now increased erosion continues underwater until the revetment itself, over time, becomes unstable and is also destroyed. Literally falling back into the water as the sand is completely lost under the water and the delicate clay underground erodes as well.

Eventually, without exception, the clay base becomes unstable, causing the failure of the entire revetment or rip rap structure.

In Mr. Zuzeks own words.

In the RMVB it is A FACT that a revetment will eventually fail and fall into the lake.”

“It is A FACT, that revetments will accelerate the downcutting.”

Thus, in no uncertain terms: If revetments go up, the beach sand will disappear.

Over time, so will the revetments.

A loss on all counts.

Mr. Zuzek commented during the evening “I can reaffirm that revetments will destroy the beaches. I can guarantee that will happen.”

So in the end it becomes very clear that the RMVB community and its Council needs to make clear, decisive and bold choices from now on regarding anything being built on our shorelines. Particularly when it comes to rock rip rap and revetments.

It is our civic and moral duty to protect these beaches not only for the present but for all the generations to come.

We need to ask ourselves before anything is ever allowed to be built on the shorelines again, like that which has occurred on Arthur: What are the consequences of a structure built on our shorelines? How will it impact it? (We can no longer pretend Victoria Beach is somehow “special” and unlike anywhere else on earth. The Baird study makes it abundantly clear what type of irreparable damage revetments can and likely will cause. )

We must ask: Does a proposed structure maintain and conserve our public spaces for generations to come? (As per our RMVB Development Plan which clearly stipulates is a main priority, aim and goal of the community at large).

Most importantly we must ask: Does the structure — intentionally or not –go against those goals?

The RMVB has a lot of things to consider in the days, months and years ahead and one thing has become clearer and clearer, time and time again, over the past year: that science says revetments are not the solution for trying to protect property in front of public sand beaches.

It is that plain and that simple. Confirmed yet again, this time by an independent source hired to particularly look at our own situation in the RMVB.

It seems reasonable after the Baird presentation that it is finally time for the council of RMVB to unanimously accept the science. To heed to the will of the large majority that seems to accept that science.

As Mr. Zuzek stated: “The time has come that the RMVB takes active and permanent intervention as this is the only way to protect front row homes and local beaches.”

The Council must accept its duty to protect the unique character and beauty of our public area beaches and place it as the number one priority from this day forward.

That from this day forward, future time, resources and efforts would be better spent on investigating other ideas and solutions — and hopefully implementing them — to deal with erosion issues facing property owners.

But that revetments, in front of public sand beaches and public spaces, should be ultimately denied from this day forward.


REMINDER regarding revetments and shoreline activity!!!

There seems to be a belief around the RMVB that the “crisis period” for revetments being built has passed with the lower water levels this year. 

This is simply not true. 

Water front property owners are still actively and quietly trying to get the right to protect their property with revetments (and the like) regardless of the impact on the environment and the beaches in front of them.  Their desire to erect these structures has not abated.

Do not think the present lull means the threat has passed.

Please be sure to attend the Shoreline Meeting this Monday, July 23rd as well as the council meeting Aug 21st. 

A quick walk around the beaches shows wooden stairs back on the banks, water craft stored along the beach, a cement structure constructed on the waterfront….and so on.

There is still plenty going on that needs to be pointed out to council.  They need to be questioned and addressed.

Are these legal activities?  And if not, what is being done about it?

What is the status on the court case regarding the revetement placed on Arthur/Patricia last summer?

A lot was accomplished last year to protect the beaches of VB and the united vigilance our community showed must continue.




Reminder: Mark Your Calendars! July 23rd and August 21st

FACT: We all want to have a stress free and fun filled summer.  We have earned it!

FACT: Last nights Council meeting showed, it is important to give a few of those hours (over the next six weeks) to attend two meetings critical to the future development and preservation plans within the RMVB.

JULY 23 
One Evening – Two Public Presentations on our Shoreline Studies   Time:07:00pm   |    Place:Alex Anderson Sports Club on Pine Road at Ash
AUG 21
Council Meeting – August 21, 2012Time:07:00pm   |    Place:Alex Anderson Sports Club on Pine Road & Ash
Plan to attend and please tell your friends and neighbours!


IMPORTANT UPDATE: Crucial Information Exposed at the July 17th Council Meeting

On July 17th at the VB council meeting at the Sports Centre, the attending audience was introduced to the latest publically released map and information package regarding the New Development Plan for the RMVB.     The public has until July 24th to offer their comments and suggestions.  It is critical to read the LATEST information and see the map and plans.  (They were different than previous ones.)  This is a significant evolution of the RMVB and the time to respond is limited. 

Contact your council members immediately to access this information and the map.  The August 21st Council meeting will be far too late for you to get informed and have your say.   204-774-4263 /Toll-free- 1-800-513-3839

It must be noted, that  the audience at the meeting was flabbergasted to see that the map offered earlier had since changed.  Designated areas such as the beaches, the banks, the boulevards and the crown roads all along the waterfront were now shown as “private land” rather than “public and protected”.

The error would have had catastrophic implications for the beaches and the shoreline at large had the audience members not spoken up and pointed out the error.

We do applaud the Council for immediately acknowledging the error and they said  that it would be fixed.    They stated it was only a drafting error.  (The council have been working hard to make sure the shorlelines are protected from now on, particularily after last years unsavory developments. )

However, what this points out is HOW IMPORTANT IT IS to be aware and be informed of what your elected council is doing with our community.  An honest (but major) “oversight” like this is a strong example of why our ears and eyes and minds as a community need to be on top of what is taking place. One cannot just assume that things are always being done properly and correctly and in favour of your beliefs or concerns.

You need to be active and present at this critical time in the evolution of the RMVB and not risk leaving it up to others to do all the work and diligence for you.

Please mark your calendars to attend the Shoreline meeting on July 23rd and the Council meeting Aug 21st.     Yes, it is summer and you want it stress free and full of fun.  But putting these few hours away are very important this summer to the future of our beloved community!

Please pass the word re the new Development plan documents and the two meetings to your friends and neighbours. (July 23 and August 21)


Peter Zuzek from Baird Engineering will be holding a public presentation Monday, July 23rd reviewing the Shoreline Study.

In addition Norm Brandson will be presenting the final RMVB Shoreline Advisory Report.

We encourage you to read the following reports so you can arm yourself with the facts.  As well, it will be your chance to ask any questions you may have.  Directly from the source.

Strong decisions are being made on how to care and protect our beaches for generations to come and this is your chance to be a part of the process.

The response to the meetings last year — and the many presentations — was simply amazing.

Be informed.  Stay informed.  Protect the future.


Draft Bylaw 1543 July 4

Baird Governance Review Report

Baird Field Observations and Recommendations

VB WhatYouTold Us 1

VB WhatYouTold Us 2


VBchapter 2





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