From left: Bill Veenhof, Deep Bay Harbour Authority treasurer, and Dan Wild, harbour manager, standing on the new ramp and toward the new dock at the Deep Bay harbour. The work was done by Small Craft Harbours which is federally run program through Fisheries and Oceans Canada. — Lauren Collins photo

VIDEO: Deep Bay harbour gets federal funding

New ramp, dock to benefit commercial fishers

Members of the Deep Bay Harbour Authority say the harbour’s new ramp and wharf should last a lifetime.

It was a couple years ago, harbour manager Dan Wild said, that Small Craft Harbours (SCH) and the Deep Bay Harbour Authority began talks to replace the old approach and the wharf.

SCH is a nationwide program run by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that keeps harbours that are critical to the fishing industry open and in good repair, according to the DFO website. More than 5,000 volunteers help with the program annually.

Wild said the harbour was due for an infrastructure replacement.

“It did its lifespan and did it well, but with the aquaculture industry, it keeps growing and growing and growing in here,” said Wild, who has been working at the harbour since 2011.

Bill Veenhof, treasurer of the Deep Bay Harbour Authority, said the old wharf at Deep Bay harbour was reaching the end of its service life.

“For the harbour activities, it was difficult to move particularly shellfish product from the boat to the wharf. They had to handle it twice,” he said.

Since he started at the harbour, Wild said, the size of the docks has “basically doubled.” He said as soon as he was handed the reins as the harbour manager, he filled the commercial dock within three weeks, and that didn’t even take half the people off the waiting list.

Wild said because of the increase of activity, the old dock became too small.

“We used to have a tiny, tiny, tiny little dock, and if you’ve got a bunch of trucks coming on to load and offload, nobody can turn around. You’ve got to get this guy out before he can back up part way.”

The upgrades by Small Craft Harbours include a new ramp and a concrete dock which can both now accommodate bigger vehicles, Veenhof said.

“Everybody is kind of happy about it because the ramp that we had was narrow and for people walking down to their boats, there was vehicle traffic going by and it was always really tight.”

The construction work began in March, 2017, Wild said, and the majority of the work was done just before February of this year.

As for the cost of the new dock and ramp, both Veenhof and Wild said they haven’t been told the cost of all the work.

Jordan Mah, regional manager of harbour development at SCH, told The NEWS the wharf reconstruction project in Deep Bay took place over three years (2015-2018) and cost $4.6 million.

As of September, 2017, SCH is responsible for 1,015 harbours including 886 fishing harbours and 129 recreational harbours, according to the website. Together, the harbours are valued at about $6.03 billion.

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