High winds causing violent waves along the shore of Georgian Bay has washed away large portions of Sunset Point's shoreline.
According to a notice posted by the Town of Collingwood, there are places where eight or more feet of formerly stable land was washed away by the water.
A portion of the base constructed around the Sunset Point Inukshuk has been washed away with large landscaping stones slipping down the bank toward the water.
Large barrier rocks lining the shore have been removed by the waves, leaving exposed and eroding grass and soil. Trees have been uprooted since the high winds picked up yesterday.
"These conditions leave the shoreline prone to slides and sinkholes," states a notice from the town.
Debris has been tossed 40 to 50 feet onto parkland in places, left there by water.
Along the eastern shoreline, the water has washed away large rocks and gravel to expose landscaping screen. In the middle of the park near the Inukshuk, waves carved out chunks of trails and grassland.
There are some orange barriers in place along the shore to indicate the more dangerous areas. The town is cautioning the public against walking along the Sunset Point shoreline.
"Please stay clear," states the notice.
According to the town website, staff is working on a "responsive action" to the damage.
Last winter, there were signs of damage along Sunset Point's shoreline already, and parks staff had placed orange cones along a portion of it to keep the public away from eroded portions and sink holes.
In a December, 2018 interview with CollingwoodToday, Collingwood resident and daily visitor to Sunset Point Betty Wallwork said she was worried about the shoreline, and in particular, the inukshuk.
“Sunset Point should be the jewel of Collingwood, but it’s being eroded and destroyed more each year,” said Wallwork.
She said she’s seen the town apply what she sees as “band-aid” solutions by filling in sinkholes and adding more stones when others wash away.
“Nobody has the money to do it properly,” said Wallwork as she walked along the shoreline surveying the damage. “High winds and storms have caused serious underground erosion.”
At that time (December, 2018) Dean Collver, director of Parks, Recreation, and Culture for Collingwood, said the erosion along Collingwood’s nearly 50 km of shoreline (that’s including all the twists and turns) has escalated with the rising water levels in Georgian Bay.
“The water levels are up significantly over the last four or five years,” said Collver in December. “The conditions acting on the shoreline are different because of that. Water levels, if not the primary cause, are a major contributing factor to increased erosion.”
He said the past two years have yielded more sinkhole effects along the water’s edge than usual, but the water levels have been high for two years.
“If we wanted to make sure nothing happens again, we could wrap Sunset Point in a big wall, but taxpayers wouldn’t like that cost,” said Collver. “We’ve been backfilling as best we can, knowing it’s a temporary solution."
A trail along Sunset Point's west shoreline has been closed all season due to flooding. In some places of the trail, the water level has risen over the path.