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Former lagoons have now been transported into wetlands near Golfview subdivision

Photo of new lagoon in Amherstburg

What was once a lagoon used to support sanitary sewage needs has now become a new wetland and trail system.

The former Edgewater sanitary lagoon system, located behind the Golfview subdivision, has been transformed into a natural area which subdivision residents and the entire community can enjoy. Access to the wetland is off of Golfview Dr. near the Linwood St. subdivision. A ribbon cutting for the new wetland occurred last Friday morning.

Todd Hewitt, manager of engineering with the Town of Amherstburg, said the process to convert the former lagoons into a wetland and trail system begin in 2019. When sewage from the Golfview subdivision and other areas of the former Anderdon Township that used the lagoons started being pumped to the main sewage plant in Amherstburg, options ranged from simply decommissioning the lagoons to converting them and the previous council chose the latter.

The town engaged Stantec Consulting to help with the project and worked the last several years with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks on the necessary approvals.

Native plants, trees and shrubs were planted and islands were created to encourage different species to come to the area, Hewitt stated. The hope is that over the next several years, the plants and trees will continue to grow and continue to naturalize and beautify the area.

There are 2.5 lagoon cells that were converted and there is still a lagoon that is used for stormwater in an attempt to prevent basement flooding in the area.

“What was once something everyone needed is now something everyone can enjoy,” said Hewitt.

The lagoons were first put in during the early 1980s for sanitary sewage treatment and when sewage started being pumped to the main plant on Sandwich St. S., this was “a great opportunity” to try a project like this.

“You feel like you are out in the country for a walk,” he said.

In 20-25 years, plant and tree growth will make the area look different “but still beautiful,” he added.

Because they were sewage lagoons, Hewitt said there is still sludge in the bottom of them so signage will go up advising against things like swimming, skating and fishing.

“It’s not considered safe and we wouldn’t encourage anyone to swim here,” he said.

Mayor Michael Prue stated the idea started the last term of council when he was a councillor and he recalled stating at the time his belief that it was a brilliant idea. He said the cost – which is estimated at about $1 million – was roughly the same if the town simply decommissioned the lagoons.

The conversion of lagoons to wetlands with a 1.5-km trail around them was a project Prue hopes other municipalities take note of and emulate.

“This is returning land to its proper use,” said Prue. “It is just phenomenal. I think it’s money well spent. It would have been used to decommission the lagoons anyway.”

Prue thanked staff for having the vision to convert the lagoons into a wetland and trails. It was described as the only project of its kind in Essex County.

“I hope everyone enjoys this for years to come,” he said.

Former lagoons have now been transported into wetlands near Golfview subdivision

By Ron Giofu

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