WHY NOT REMOVE THE DAM AND LEAVE THE RIVER AS IT WAS 156 YEARS AGO?
WHAT ARE THE URGENT ISSUES RELATED TO THE LAKE?
156 years ago the area was primarily rural and just being settled. There were no established town services such as as a recreational marina or commercial fishing industry in the beginning. The dam that was put in place to power Norfolk Woollen Mill resulted in the formation of a lake that became known as Silver Lake. It is clear that the town and industries that have evolved over the years have done so because of the role the Lake played in flood management and silt management. A whole ecosystem of plant and animal life developed around and within the Lake. It now offers habitat for endangered species.
Flood Management. Classified as a Zone A flood zone in South-Western Ontario, the lake and dam have served to protect the community against cyclical flood catastrophes which may only occur once or twice in any one century. Back in the mid 50’s, Hurricane Hazel dumped 2 1/2 times the hundred year standard of flood water onto the Lynn Valley watershed. To compound the hazard, the Lynn River is joined by Black Creek as it approaches its confluence with Lake Erie. Lake Erie is known for enormous storm surges as strong wind and barometric pressure cause major elevations of water levels. The boating basins hold an estimated 600 boats of some $24 Million of investment, along with significant marine industry. Flooding would have a major impact there and in the town adjacent to the harbour. The whole area is at risk if the Dam is deconstructed. Misner Dam holds back flood waters from the Lynn Valley watershed and is key to the protection of the lower town and harbour.
Siltation Management: Silver Lake has served as a silt trap for 150 years. While it has reduced the amount of sedimentation flowing into the harbour below the dam, after 150 years of silt build up, the silt is close to reaching the point where the dam will no longer impede its flow into the harbours. Failure to dredge the Lake will leave the area to face a bleak future leaving Port Dover’s thriving town and harbour industry to the same fate as Port Burwell and Port Stanley and resulting in a significant reduction in County tourism.
Quality Water Management: The Lynn Valley system has become a prime county utility for handling waste water from storm sewer pipes that are directed straight into the river from adjacent residential developments along the Lynn Valley trail. Expansion of the storm sewer piping has kept pace with new development in the County, and the need for this resource is only expected to increase as the County prospers.
Invasive Species Prevention: Misner Dam serves to screen out new invasive species in Great Lake waters moving into the Lynn River system.
Silver Lake is critical to Port Dover’s continuing commercial viability and Norfolk’s vibrant tourism.