Seawall around new P.E.I. Convention Centre needs repairs

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The seawall around the P.E.I. Convention Centre will need repairs this spring after eight steel rods broke a few months ago.

Brian Moase of Williams, Murphy and MacLeod, installs glass in the handrail on the deck at the Delta Hotel.

Ron Waite, general manager of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, said they discovered the breaks in late October but repairs can't be carried out until the ice in the Hillsborough River moves out.

Those repairs will cost approximately $100,000, with each rod running between $10,000 and $15,000.

"Given its history, we've been keeping an eye on it,'' Waite said of the seawall around the $24 million convention centre that has been a headache for CADC.

Back in 2011, before construction began, steel sheets were driven into the harbour to stabilize the land after the anchorage system failed, causing the steel sheets to twist, bend and buckle.

"Last October we discovered, during a routine inspection, that we had five anchors on the east wall that were broken and then we did a full inspection of all the anchors and found an additional three on the south wall.''

There are about 50 anchors in the system around the waterfront convention centre.

A Nova Scotia engineering company was engaged to survey the wall and see if there was any movement. They found some movement so CADC began to monitor things on a daily basis to ensure there wasn't a dramatic shift.

The engineers have determined that the wall is safe and stable. Tests were conducted at Dalhousie University's engineering school in Halifax to come up with a solution.

"They can go in from the exterior of the wall, cut out a section, go in and do their repairs and then re-secure those anchors to the wall.''

Waite said the engineers can only speculate as to what cause the rods to break - hairline cracks occurred when the wall was being straightened or sometime during the construction phase they got overloaded with equipment right next to the wall.

Waite said the stability of the convention centre itself is not an issue.

"Both the convention centre and the deck surrounding it are on a totally independent pile system. The soil between the seawall and the convention centre is where the boardwalk is at. That would be the area that would be most affected by this.

"From a structural point of view the convention centre is on a pile-supported slab that's totally independent of the wall.''

Organizations: Charlottetown Area Development, P.E.I. Convention Centre, Dalhousie University

Geographic location: Hillsborough River, Nova Scotia, Halifax

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