Public Notice

January 24, 2023 – Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Real Property, Safety, and Security - Engineering and Technical Support for Ontario and Prairie Region must determine whether the proposed Canadian Coast Guard Port Weller Search and Rescue Station Dock Replacement Project, located in St. Catharines, Ontario is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

To help inform this determination, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Real Property, Safety, and Security - Engineering and Technical Support for Ontario and Prairie Region is inviting comments from the public respecting that determination. All comments received will be considered public and may be posted online. For more information, individuals should consult the Privacy Notice on the Registry website.

Written comments must be submitted by February 24, 2023 to:


Jason Boland, PMP

Senior Project Technologist, Engineering and Technical Support

520 Exmouth Street

Sarnia, Ontario

N7T 8B1


Telephone:         226-402-2846



The Proposed Project

Fisheries and Oceans Canada owns, operates, and maintains a Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue Station in Port Weller, Ontario, a tiny community that is part of the City of St. Catharines. Seasonal marine search and rescue operations for Lake Ontario and the surrounding local waterways are carried out between March and December from this strategically located site. The Search and Rescue Station is located on the western manmade breakwater at the northern terminus of the Welland Canal. Approximate GPS coordinates of the site are 43°14'12.21"N, 79°13'10.68"W. Municipal address of the site is 4 Welland Canals Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario, L2M 1A1. The property is owned by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and is leased long-term by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for its operational requirements.

An existing dock facility is constructed on the eastern side of the Search and Rescue Station property. Canadian Coast Guard marine vessels used in search and rescue operations tie up at this dock during the operating season to remain at a state of readiness in case of a marine emergency. The dock facility consists of two adjoining fixed docks configured in an ‘L'-shape, as well as a straight pre-manufactured floating dock section.

The original east-west oriented fixed dock structure connects the dock to land and was built at an unknown date (possibly in 1997 or earlier). This 3.7 metre wide dock begins at the shoreline and extends 20.35 metres east. It is constructed with driven steel H-piles fitted with horizontal steel sheet pile panels between the H-piles that serve as wave attenuation devices. A north-south oriented fixed dock addition was built in 1998. This 4.05 metre wide dock extends 18.2 metres south at the east end of the original dock structure. This section is also constructed of driven steel H-piles but concrete beams replace the steel sheet pile panels between the H-piles. Apart from some minimal bracing, the interior of the dock structure is hollow. The dock has a concrete deck that is supported on the H-piles and interior steel and wood members.

Since constructed, the dock has experienced recurring structural problems related to the wave attenuation paneling. Numerous attempts to repair the structural damage caused by movement of these panels has occurred every three to five years over the lifespan of the dock. Condition assessments of the existing dock completed in October 2020 and in March 2022 by different engineering consultants found the dock to be in poor condition and at the end of its useful life. Beginning in 2019, the concrete wave attenuation panels became loose again and started falling out of the structure. Approximately 45% of the panels today are now lying on the bottom of the canal, creating a marine hazard for vessels. Panels remaining in place continue to move with wake within the dock structure causing structural fatigue and welds to fail. The two engineering consultants that completed the condition assessment have recommended replacement of the dock in its entirety.

As part of normal life cycle management of the dock asset and to provide a docking facility safe for human use and berthing of Canadian Coast Guard marine vessels, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Real Property, Safety, and Security - Engineering and Technical Support for Ontario and Prairie Region, is proposing to replace the existing dock facility in its entirety. Demolition of the existing dock structure is tentatively planned to take place sometime between September 2023 and March 2024 or in Summer 2024. Construction of a new dock will tentatively commence in September 2024 and is anticipated to be completed and in service by March 2025. The new engineered dock will consist of a backfilled steel pipe pile and steel sheet pile structure. The new dock will be constructed on the same footprint of the existing dock. However, it will be lengthened to extend approximately 4.5 metres east to allow for an additional 0.5 metres of berth depth. The dock structure will be backfilled with stone, topped with a concrete deck, and fitted with required services (electrical power, water) and marine furnishings (bollards, fenders, lighting, ladders, etc.). The elevation of the dock deck will also be raised from its current elevation to make the dock more climate resilient and reduce potential for overtopping during periods of high water levels.

Document reference number: 1

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