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Boardwalk repairs approved on closed section

Town of Hinton Boardwalk map

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative


Council approved the repair of a section of the Beaver Boardwalk that is currently closed, located East of Happy Creek.

Funds allocated for the boardwalk in the 2020 operational maintenance budget will allow this section to re-open for public use, explained administration during the Oct. 20 special meeting of council.

Opening this specific section means people can use the loop that runs on both sides of Happy Creek.

“The cost and time commitment to opening this section is really minimal and it doesn’t affect the ability to continue maintenance on any of the currently open sections and it doesn’t affect the budget,” said Coun. Albert Ostashek. 

Despite a previous direction from council to concentrate efforts on currently open sections, reopening this section is a bit of a win, he added.

The repair needs to be done before ice is formed to avoid the use of machinery to move or replace pilings.

A portion of about 20 meters in this section (‘H’ on the map) requires minor repair consisting of straightening with the use of hand tools, placing cross braces and supporting boards to strengthen the structure. 

In order to reopen this section, other minor repairs to sections that are currently open and slated for 2020 will be re-prioritized. 

“Addressing and reopening this section of the Boardwalk will satisfy many stakeholders and visitors, and can be accomplished with minimal staff time and resources,” stated the Town of Hinton.

Ostashek added that quite a bit of feedback from the community was received about this section and they would like to see this reopened.

Sections that are at risk of being closed in the near future will be addressed as planned, while attention to lower priority areas can take place in following years.

The total operational budget available for 2020 regarding Beaver Boardwalk work, including materials, labour, tools, and the Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) application, is $60,000.

The continual funding for maintenance is part of the budget deliberations. The Municipal Stimulus Program (MSP) grant funding requests that are underway will also support major repairs and rebuild of structures of our Beaver Boardwalk asset.

Work has begun or has been completed with straightening and replacing several sections of the boardwalk. That includes sections c, d, e, f, and i on the boardwalk map.

These sections require levelling or sideways alignment, a task which requires little material or disturbance to complete and improved safety.

Section B and any of the sections that are currently closed, including a, j, k, and o, are not likely to see work until 2022, or 2021 if needed.

“For section b, we likely have to use machinery to address this section, and machinery use is not yet approved by AEP, it is awaiting approval under the Water Act application. This would not be included in the low level maintenance deemed permissible,” stated Hans van Klaveren, parks, recreation and culture manager.

The other sections that are currently closed are also in need of intensive work requiring machinery and rebuild, or other structural solutions.

“In addition to AEP, we will need Council’s approval to work on, and open, closed sections. Administration would also need to secure the funding to undertake this work,” van Klaveren said.

At this time, work is not deemed needed in section g, i, m, and n, due to them being in relatively good shape.

This judgement is made in part as larger sections are on solid soil and not in risk of failure right now. The Town is prioritizing the remaining work season and resources to other areas.

Decisions on how work on the Beaver Boardwalk is prioritized is done by the Town’s Parks department.

Staff take into account the community survey done earlier this year and any feedback or input from residents and other Town staff members, stated van Klaveren.

In the meantime, sections could close temporarily during the day when work is being done that pose a safety risk to the public.

All previous maintenance of the Boardwalk was put on hold pending the Water Act Approval application submitted to AEP. 

Administration received written confirmation from AEP in September that minor repairs to the existing footprint of the Boardwalk is permissible outside the wetland approval, which is still required for intermediate and major repairs. 

Town staff started with maintenance work on open sections and continue to work on open sections that need immediate attention to avoid closure of those areas.

Maintenance and repairs began on Sept. 24 and include fastening and replacing deck boards, leveling and straightening sections, and adding cross braces and side support where needed. This work will be completed to the extent supported in the 2020 Budget and a Request for Decision Report may be addressed during the 2021 Budget process.

For more information on the Beaver Boardwalk, go to Hinton.ca/Bebo.