Photos by Barry Wallace
Way ahead of schedule, the Holland Marsh canal relocation continues to benefit from what has been, up until now, a mild 2011/12 winter. One has to wonder how many residents of King Township, particularly those who seldom visit the northern areas, really have an idea of the scope of the project. When completed, the 'Marsh' (also known as Ontario's Vegetable Patch or Salad Bowl) will be able to withstand a 50-year storm event, provide enhanced drainage capabilities and make roads safer. Several drowning deaths have occurred over the years as vehicles have plunged off unprotected roads into the adjoining canals. In all, 28 kms. of canal will be either mostly and fully relocated, or widened and deepened with enhanced guard-rail protection. In addition to the $26 million canal costs, there is an additional $57 million in municipal and provincial expenditures on roads, highways and bridges. Moving this canal is truly an impressive example of engineering and execution. It is the largest drainage project in Ontario being done under the Drainage Act. Despite all the activity, the 'Marsh' continues to be a great spot for birdwatchers (like me) to spot Snowy Owls and hawks in the winter and lots of herons and waterfowl in the summer.
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