PORT HASTINGS: A study will investigate what is happening to the walls at the Canso Canal.

Glen Fry, construction project manager with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said the department made a request through Public Service Procurement Canada to issue a request for proposals for an engineering investigation. He said the study will look at what he called “cross-dimensional differences” in the Canso Canal walls, which were noticed last winter after taking water out of the canal.

“We were working on the north gates of the lock,” he said. “We discovered that there was a 50 to 75 millimetre difference in the cross measurement of the wall. We had no idea why.”

Realizing there was an issue, Fry said workers discovered a similar difference on the south end, knowing they had plans to work on it this winter.

“In the interest of maintaining and ensuring the canal performs as expected and stays in good condition, we have no idea what’s causing that minor differential but we wanted to go forward with an engineering investigation so that we could determine what… we would propose for the future to repair that,” said Fry. “It’s a man-made structure, it’s 60 years old, and things are going to happen, things deteriorate. These are things the department has to monitor and plan future projects to make sure the canal stays in good shape.”

Fry said he isn’t sure how much the study will cost, adding it may depend on how long it takes.

“It’s relatively minor, it’s not going to interfere with normal canal operations and the challenge for us is when you note something has happened to jump on it and fix it so that’s what we’re about,” he said. “We found this little problem so we’re going to assess it and see what’s going on.”

The Canso Canal was built between 1953 and 1955, and stands 24 metres (78.7 feet) wide, 570 metres (1,870 feet) long, and has a minimum depth of 9.8 metres (32.15 feet).