New Breakwater opens Saturday
Posted on Jul 19, 2012 in What to do, what to see? In Port Alberni, BC
The Fishermen’s Harbour breakwater should open on Saturday, according to the Port Alberni Port Authority.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the public should be able to enjoy the breakwater while they enjoy the farmers’ market on Saturday, said Dave McCormick, property and communications manager at the port authority.
He said there a few finishing touches and safety features needed to complete the project including safety ladders, and if it all goes as planned the local contractors conducting the work should be done by Saturday morning.
Despite its considerable price tag, the breakwater has been touted as something that will draw locals and tourists to the Harbour Quay area. It should also allow PAPA to ensure better safety to the commercial fishing fleet moored in Fishermen’s Harbour.
It is located off Harbour Quay next to the restaurant, which will soon be the Starboard Grill. It is more than 130 metres long, including the ramp and the two pieces it comprises.
The project cost a total of $8.2 million. It was first discussed as part of the South Port revitalization project about five years ago, McCormick said.
It has been in the works for about three years, since the parts of the former Hood Canal bridge the breakwater was built from became available for purchase, McCormick said.
Another contributing factor to the decision to build it was a November 2006 storm that damaged some boats in the harbour. The commercial fishing fleet moves around for many reasons, but McCormick said being able to add an additional level of safety to vessels in Fishermen’s Harbour is beneficial for everyone.
McCormick said interest from the public has been high and support from citizens as well as Harbour Quay merchants has been strong.
‘We’re grateful that the businesses on the quay were so positive,” he said.
He added that PAPA did its best to cause as little disruption as possible, which was made easier by co-operation from merchants.
Whether or not the public can fish or crab off the breakwater is up the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, McCormick said.
The breakwater could one day be used as float plane dock, and it can function as an unloading location for pocket cruise ships, McCormick said.