Ready to launch

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Highland Glen boat launch reopens

A key boat launch on Lake Huron has reopened after more than three years.

The Highland Glen Conservation Area has the only boat launch between Sarnia and Grand Bend and is seen as a key point for boaters to get off the water in inclement weather or a launching spot for emergency crews.

But in late 2019, the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority, which owes the park, closed it down saying there was too much damage to allow people to use it.

Over the years, the authority hired an engineer to look at the problem. Aecom estimated it would cost up to $3 million to repair the launch and reinforce the bluffs on the waterfront. The project was put on indefinite hold.

Then, Plympton-Wyoming approached the conservation authority asking to take over the park. An operating agreement was negotiated first and later both agreed the town would eventually own the park.

Since then, the town has been working at the park, hiring a Gordon Marine to fix the damage at the site at a cost of $105,000. Staff has also been expanding the parking lot and trying to find the right system to collect fees for the boat launch.

Tuesday, the boat launch was re-opened and available for public use. Officials say right now the launch is free, however council is reviewing whether to charge frees and what they would be.