Hibbs Cove wharf condemned
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.”
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.
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.