Wharf work underway
Road through Halls Harbour to reopen soon as rebuilding project continues
The wharf is the lifeblood of Halls Harbour as a fishing community and tourism destination, and getting the failing west side replaced is of the utmost importance.
Harbour authority president and operations manager Charles Skerry said the road going through the harbour should be reopened to traffic by mid-may, although work on the wharf won’t be complete.
The harbour authority had many meetings with Small Craft Harbours during the past several years focused on replacing the west side of the wharf, he added. Community members had decked it in twice as holes started appearing over the years.
“It was deteriorating and collapsing down into itself, as wood will over the years,” Charles said.
Last July, Kings-hants MP Scott Brison announced work to repair the failing wharf would be funded as part of $47 million earmarked by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for small craft harbour improvement projects in Nova Scotia.
Harbour authority secretary Sylvia Skerry said it seemed everyone in the community was there for the announcement.
“It was quite a celebration because this was a long time coming,” she said.
Charles said the work necessitated the closure of Highway 359 through the harbour so it was important to get the project done in a year as opposed to an earlier plan to complete it over two.
The construction contract was awarded to D.J. Lowe. Work was supposed to start in September 2016 but was delayed until January. Even though this pushed the completion date back significantly, he said the work is getting done and the contractor is doing a good job.
“It’s a slow process,” Charles said. “You’re not going to work on the bottom of the harbour when the tide’s in.”
Sylvia said sections of cribbing were constructed individually on the closed portion of the road. These are being set on the harbour floor and filled with rocks to form the base of the wharf.
After the road is reopened, sometime between May 15 and 18, work on the wharf will continue until late June to bring the boardwalk over the new section of the wharf to a usable state. Floating docks for recreational boats will be put back in place. The wharf work will halt during the peak tourist season and then will be completed in the fall.
The next major concern to address is the walkway connecting the eastern wharf and boardwalk section with the western section. It’s currently closed to pedestrians. Charles said that an engineer who examined it recently determined that the supporting structure could last another two to five years.
The walkway, he added, will either be boarded in or replaced completely.
He believes that it’s critically important that this work is done because it isn’t safe to have people walking on the road to get from one side of the harbour to the other. However, there is currently no timeline in place or funding identified for this project.
Work on rebuilding the west side of the Hall’s Harbour wharf continued on May 8.