Up­per Is­land Cove wharf slated for re­moval

The Compass - - NEWS - BY TERRY ROBERTS

The Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans has iden­ti­fied a crum­bling wharf in Spoon Cove, Up­per Is­land Cove as a dan­ger to the pub­lic and plan to re­move the struc­ture in the com­ing months.

“It’s in rough shape,” said Dawn Boutilier, a prop­erty of­fi­cer with DFO’s Small Craft Har­bours di­vi­sion.

She called the wharf a pub­lic safety risk and said re­mov­ing it is the most ob­vi­ous op­tion.

But it won’t hap­pen with­out some ex­ten­sive di­a­logue with lo­cal res­i­dents. DFO is in the process of send­ing letters to roughly 700 home­own­ers in the com­mu­nity, ex­plain­ing the rea­son be­hind the pro­posed de­mo­li­tion and pro­vid­ing an op­por­tu­nity to res­i­dents to com­ment.

Lo­cal po­lit­i­cal lead­ers have also been no­ti­fied.

“ The peo­ple in these com­mu­ni­ties have a lot of knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion about these fa­cil­i­ties and a big at­tach­ment to them, so we want to hear from them,” Boutilier said.

Res­i­dents will have three weeks to a month to sub­mit their com­ments, she added.

The Spoon Cove wharf is one of four in the prov­ince slated for re­moval. The oth­ers are in Burnt Cove, Wit­less Bay, and in Plum Point and Pond Cove on the North­ern Penin­sula.

DFO looks af­ter wharf fa­cil­i­ties in roughly 370 har­bours in the prov­ince, and keep a watch­ful eye out for those that have out­lived their use­ful­ness.

The wharf in Spoon Cove was built in 1964. The con­crete slab that rests atop the crib­bing has cracked and sagged over the years. The nearby slip­way, which is also slated for re­moval, was put in place in 1978.

There are no records of any com­mer­cial fish­ing ac­tiv­ity at the wharf, Boutilier stated, and it’s never been man­aged by a har­bour author­ity.

She added that al­ter­na­tive har­bours are avail­able close by in Up­per Is­land Cove, Port de Grave and Car­bon­ear.

“If any­one is us­ing it, we want to hear from them to make other ar­range­ments for them,” she said. “It’s ob­vi­ously a very dan­ger­ous place.” Boutilier said DFO has in­vested “ big money” in some of the nearby ports.

“Our core work at small craft har­bours is to sup­port the com­mer­cial fish­ing in­dus­try,” she said. “ This one in Spoon Cove has seen the end of its life and is be­yond re­pair.”

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