Grass Fire Near Harbourview Boardwalk

Nature Is Bouncing Back But Boardwalk Needs Repairs

It is remarkable how quickly nature has rebounded following a major grass fire that caused great concern and damaged a lengthy portion of the Harbourview Park Boardwalk in early May.

While the vegetation is greening up, the boardwalk is still in need of major repair and remains closed to the public.

Dean Collver, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture for the Town of Collingwood, said the Town is still working to put together a plan to fund the repair work.

“We are still working through the issue with our insurance company. Once we have a funding source, we will be able to determine schedule for repair/replacement. Nothing further to report at this time and in the meantime the boardwalk remains closed for the safety of the public.”

While this portion of the trail system is closed, all other trails are open providing many scenic ways to explore Collingwood’s Harbourview Park.

The once fire charred field is green again in Harbourview Park, but the boardwalk remains damaged and closed to the public

Looking Back To The May 9th Fire

photo: Thom Vincent

Collingwood Fire Fighters Called To Extinguish Large Grass Fire That Damaged Harbourview Park Boardwalk

Collingwood fire fighters were called to the boardwalk area of Harbourview Park to extinguish a large grass fire late Wednesday afternoon (May 9th). Witnesses and nearby residents credit the fire fighters with containing the situation and preventing the fire from spreading.

The fire broke out shortly after 5:30 p.m.

Deputy Fire Chief Dan Thurman said the flames were spreading quickly because of the dry conditions and strong south/west winds. At the height of the fire, 35 fire fighters were battling the flames.

Thurman said swampy conditions made fighting the fire difficult.

Thom Vincent is the President of Balmoral Village and lives close to where the fire broke out.

“The Fire fighters did a great job in putting the fire out as the winds were whipping the flames. We were concerned when the flames had crept to 100 yards from Mariners Haven condominiums.”

Mariner’s Haven residents were keeping a close eye on the situation as the fire crept closer and closer to their homes

Thurman said fire fighters were stationed along Black Ash Creek between the fire and condominiums armed with two new leaf blowers, recently purchased by the department. Thurman said these pieces of equipment are used to fight forest fires and were put to good use in knocking down the flames that were spreading toward the residential area.

photo: Thom Vincent

Thurman said the Harbourview Park Boardwalk took significant damage. Approximately 100 feet of boardwalk close to Black Ash Creek is damaged and is now closed to the public.

photo: Thom Vincent

Thurman credits the fire fighters with doing an outstanding job in preventing what could have been a much worse situation.

“It was really going fast when we arrived. Even though it is swampy those bulrushes are bone dry at this time of year.”

photo: Paul Richards

Thurman said no official cause has been determined. However, if you look at the above photo, you can see where a recent bonfire in the bush appears to have made its way through the trees and into the tall bulrushes. Food wrappers, beverage containers and uncooked hot dogs were still lying on the ground on the morning after the fire.

photos: Paul Richards

The Town of Collingwood must now deal with the task of repairing the fire damaged boardwalk as the busy summer season approaches.

Dean Collver, Director of Parks, Recreation & Culture for the Town of Collingwood said a damage estimate has yet to be determined.

“It’s really too soon to get a firm idea, but I’ve been referencing the last long section of boardwalk that we had to build, which cost a little more than $100,000. The burned section is somewhat smaller and I have no idea how much of the support structure can be salvaged, so I suspect the cost to remediate and replace the burned section could be less than that.”

Collver said it is also unclear as to how long it will be until the public will be able to once again access this area of the park.

“For timing I really have no idea – it will definitely be out of commission for a while and possibly the whole summer depending upon the extent of the damage, how we have to go about replacing it, and how available contractors are to do the work.”

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