This week, the Municipality of Dysart will be posting weight restriction notifications on the Koshlong Lake Road bridge in Donald that crosses the Burnt River. The limit (16 metric tonnes for a single vehicle) has been imposed through a by-law passed in response to an engineering inspection conducted in the fall of 2022. This inspection report by Tulloch Engineering found deterioration of the support structures.
No notice was given to the community, members the KLA only learned about it after the by-law was passed, and an e-blast was sent to members immediately (December 14). At this time, our understanding is that no plans have been made by Dysart or Highlands East for repair or replacement of the bridge.
The weight restriction has significant implications for the 139 KLA member families who access their properties via Koshlong Lake road, as well as for Camp Wanakita. While some specifics remain unclear, we do know that large construction equipment cannot be brought across the bridge, nor can large loads of concrete or gravel. It remains uncertain whether septic trucks and propane trucks can be brought in, and there is only one fire truck approved to cross the bridge. These restrictions pose threats to the health and safety of our residents and their properties, our lake, and our forests.
The KLA will be making a presentation to the Dysart Council at its regular meeting on January 24th, via Zoom, to clarify the specific implications of the weight restriction, and to implore the municipality to act quickly to remediate this untenable situation. Please take a moment to review the KLA’s letter to Dysart Council below.
We encourage as many of our members as possible to tune in to this meeting to demonstrate concern for the impacts of the weight restriction, and community support for resolution. There will not be an opportunity to speak but the larger the presence of KLA members we believe the greater the impact. Login information will follow in the next e-blast.
We will also seek to present to Highlands East Council, and will notify members of the date and time for that meeting next month.
The following submission was put to Dysart Council by your KLA on January 17, 2023:
This submission is being made by the Koshlong Lake Association in response to the bylaw imposing weight restrictions on the bridge over the Burnt River on Koshlong Lake Road in Donald. My name is Laurie Bruce, and I am the municipal representative for our lake association. We have over 139 homes and cottages on our lake that access their properties via the Koshlong Lake Road bridge. This weight restriction, as discussed below, has significant implications for our community, including Camp Wanakita.
We understand that in the fall of 2022 the engineering firm Tulloch, identified deficiencies in the support structures of the Koshlong Lake Road bridge. We also understand that Dysart et al had been advised of an issue with a bridge structure (timber support beam) in at least one previous inspection report. The Tulloch report presented to Council December 2, 2022, led to the passing of a bylaw restricting the weight of vehicles using the bridge. We note that the bylaw was passed in under two weeks with no community notification or consultation on the implications. Since the municipality did not consult or even inform our association, our residents or Camp Wanakita, you may not be aware of the impacts the weight restriction has on our community. The purpose of this brief submission is to raise the concerns of the 139 Koshlong Lake families that rely on this bridge, ask some questions, and to make recommendations that we hope council will act on expediently.
There has not been information proactively shared by the municipality with those affected by this weight restriction. However, what we have gleaned from various discussions that have taken place within the community is the following:
Construction equipment can not be brought in to complete work that is already underway at multiple residences and Camp Wanakita, or that may be planned or required soon;
Construction equipment at Camp Wanakita cannot be removed from the camp due to its weight;
Local suppliers, having heard about the weight restriction, are advising residents that deliveries can not be made due to weight restrictions;
Concrete trucks can not make deliveries;
It is unclear if larger propane tanks such as those used exclusively by some suppliers may exceed weight restrictions. Alternative propane companies with smaller trucks will not fill tanks that are not their own, so families may be without vital heat and energy resources;
It is unclear if septic systems can be safely and properly maintained due to the weight of septic pumping vehicles, threatening the health of our lake and watershed;
It is unclear if road repair could be completed as necessary, such as delivery of gravel in the case of a washout;
There may be issues with larger Hydro One trucks brought in to address power outages;
We understand that an assessment has made of the local fire pumper truck and it was concluded due to the spacing of its axels that it can use the bridge. However, we are not aware of what would happen if a fire required multiple fire trucks that had not been assessed.
The impacts of the weight restriction on the residents who access their property via Koshlong Lake Road, as well as on Camp Wanakita, are not acceptable nor sustainable.
While we understand the engineers undertaking the inspection identified a safety risk that needs to be addressed, we are not clear whether Tulloch was asked or gave consideration to mitigation measures available to minimize or eliminate the need for weight restrictions. For example, the Tulloch assessment appears to assume ongoing deterioration over the next five years as factoring into the need for the weight restriction. If a replacement bridge or refurbished bridge was to be in place in two or three years could the present weight restriction be modified (i.e. greater weight permitted) because the “wear and tear” period would be shorter?
At a time when Haliburton is looking to grow its economic base, this unmitigated weight restriction does not reflect favourably upon the municipality. We implore council to seek engineering solutions and to access support from the province, such as through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund. We are here to ask council to figure out a resolution and to engage in timely and proactive communication with those that are affected.
Thank you for considering our feedback.
Koshlong Lake Association