City to Look at Fixing Little River Dike System

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The first step in a plan to restore and strengthen the Little River Dike system is coming to city council Monday night. 

Little River may seem like a nice place to dock a boat but it's purpose is to drain nearly 6,500 hectares of land out into Lake St. Clair. According to a report going to council, it handles 33% of the city's storm water.

An inspection of the dike from 2014 found 73 of the 165 properties along the river have either breached or added obstructions to the dike — the report indicates that number has gone up.

City Engineer Mark Winterton says the dike system was built back in the 1980's to protect neighbourhoods from Riverside Dr. all the way to McHugh St.

Administration is looking to hire a consultant to find out what needs to be fixed and what needs to be removed.

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Encroachments on Little River (by AM800's Peter Langille)

"Over the years there have been a number of encroachments and alterations to the dike that are not authorized and we have to bring those back into check," he says. "Some people have gone as far as physically removing the dike, obviously any breaches in the dike put the entirety of Riverside at risk and certainly with the high water levels that were experiencing right now, it really exasperates that situation."

Winterton says water levels are already creeping over the break walls in some areas of the river.

"You can see that the water is extremely high. If a large event like we had in 2017 came along, we would want to be in a position to be able to drain those areas and not have a situation where we are flooding a large portion of Riverside," he added.

The consulting cost and creation of a topographical survey are estimated to cost $250,000.

Officials attempted to address the issue back in 2017 but council backed down after push back from residents.

Winterton says that can't happen this time.