Hibbs Cove wharf con­demned

Re­pairs un­likely

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

Small boaters wish­ing to moor at a well-known wharf in Hibbs Cove are now greeted by a signed stat­ing, “Struc­ture un­safe, KEEP OFF.”

The struc­ture, which served fish­er­men of the com­mu­nity of Port de Grave for well over 100 years, has de­te­ri­o­rated to where it is now deemed un­safe to use.

When con­tacted by The Com­pass, of­fi­cials with the Har­bour Au­thor­ity of Port de Grave di­rected in­quiries to the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans’ North­west At­lantic Fish­eries Cen­tre in St. John’s.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Michele Boriel con­firms in an email to the pa­per: “DFO as­sessed the Small Craft Har­bours wharf and slip­way in Hibbs Cove and de­ter­mined that the con­di­tion of the wharf was such that re­stricted ac­cess was war­ranted.”

Fond mem­o­ries

Hibbs Cove res­i­dent Ver­non Pet­ten has fond mem­o­ries of the wharf.

“ When I was a boy, I can re­mem­ber com­ing over to this wharf on my bike,” the 75-year-old re­calls.

“ The wharf was here long be­fore my time. It was one of the busiest spots around at one time. We landed mil­lions of pounds of fish there.”

How­ever, years of ero­sion from the el­e­ments — es­pe­cially dur­ing the last two win­ters — have taken their toll on the struc­ture. Now the ob­vi­ous dam­age in­cludes cracked con­crete, miss­ing wheel guards and a six-foot hole that threat­ens to swal­low ve­hi­cle tires. There’s prob­a­bly struc­tural dam­age, as well.

Pub­lic safety

This past spring, DFO bar­ri­caded the wharf by plac­ing three boul­ders on it to pre­vent ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic from ac­cess­ing the worst part. Ap­pro­pri­ate sig­nage was posted.

Boriel ex­plains DFO took the step “to en­sure the safety of the pub­lic.”

Pet­ten thinks the wharf can “ be re­paired, but that’s not the kind of place (govern­ment) spends a lot of money on,” he says.

He has his own rea­son for not want­ing to see the wharf re­moved: “ We got our stage right here on the wharf.”

Ac­tu­ally, the shed and wharf are

Ver­non Pet­ten of Hibbs Cove, Port de Grave, stands in front of his shed, which is at­tached to the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing wharf.

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