Essex’s shoreline protection, flood prevention loan program ‘first of its kind’ in region

The Town of Essex is touting its shoreline improvement program, aimed to help residents improve infrastructure against flooding and erosion. 

In a press release, the town says that construction is underway for some property owners who signed up for its Shoreline Assistance Loan Program.

“This was probably the easiest and most preferable process of my project, it would have been really hard for me to access all the funds required at one time and having this option meant that other required work could be done at the same time,” said Anthony Gagliano in the press release.

Gagliano owns a home in the Lypps Beach area of Essex and began construction on a 40 meter break wall two weeks ago. 

Property owners like Gagliano may be eligible for a loan under the program — in partnership with a bank — to repair or build infrastructure to prevent damage from erosion and flooding. The town explains the balance of the loans are transferred onto property tax accounts as a local improvement share and then paid back annually. 

So far about 30 residents have expressed interest in the program and four are in the application process, according to the town. 

Lypps Beach homeowner Anthony Gagliano said it would have been difficult for him to have the amount of money needed to get a project this size finished at one time. (Nick DiCarlo/Town of Essex)

The program is designed to replace Ontario’s shoreline loan program which was discontinued in 2010. 

The town says this program is the first of its kind in this region. 

“It’s great to see so many property owners interested in the program,” said Mayor Larry Snively, in a press release.

“As a Council, we recognize that we have limited capacity to stop flooding and erosion, so this program provides residents a new option to protect their properties while limiting the financial burden on the Town and its taxpayers.”

The town’s strategic plan outlined the need for “mitigating the impact of climate change” and “working with partners to reduce the impact of shoreline flooding.”

Earlier this year, the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) announced an indefinite flood watch for all of shoreline areas within Essex region, including Pelee Island. 

The town says the program is aimed to replace a similar provincial loan program which was discontinued in 2010. (Nick DiCarlo/Town of Essex)

The conservation authority said low-lying beach communities and shoreline areas along Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and Lake Erie — as well as low-lying areas along the “downstream reaches of major tributaries” — are areas of potential concern. 

Citing record-high lake levels, ERCA said areas that could be affected can vary day-to-day based on wind speed and direction.

Property owners interested in applying or learning more about the program can contact [email protected] or by visiting www.essex.ca/shoreline.

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