Following a lively and lengthy discussion during Perth’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday night, Perth town council voted 6-1 in favour of hiring Matrix Solutions to produce a design to adjust the Rocky Ramps, at a cost of $28 856.00.
This design will see the water flow split 50/50 between the Tay and the Little Tay at periods of low flow, and be split 80/20 at peak flow. The design will keep the larger channel’s appearance status quo, and the smaller channel will look more like the larger, with a more even distribution of rocks to create a “curtain” look.
Director of Environmental Services Grant Machan noted in his report that the Rocky Ramps were designed and installed in 2015 and 2017, to re-establish a split flow in the river. This split flow was threatened due to failing wooden dams upstream of Haggarts Island.
In June 2019, Matrix did an evaluation of the Rocky Ramps and assessed that the flow was split 95/5, which was leading to swampy conditions in Stewart Park and through Perth’s downtown.
Councillor Barry Smith urged council members to vote in favour of this proposal, “This is broken infrastructure…. To say no right now would make a swamp in Stewart Park and affect tourism and business.”
Councillor Judy Brown was not in favour, pointing out that Matrix designed the faulty rocky ramp structures in the first place.
Councillor David Bird was hesitant about the potential hidden costs in the project, but agreed that now was the time to act. “This is a project the town is responsible for; this is the chance to adjust it.”
Councillor Smith asked Steve Braun, Senior Water Resources Engineer with Matrix, how long the project might take. “From two weeks to a month,” Braun replied, “although there might be some construction prep [required] beforehand.”