Skinners Pond Harbour getting upgrades
“It has a lot to do with safety. This is the most important thing, when you’re going out or going in. If your boat gets sideways, you can lose your boat.” Brian Aylward
Brian Aylward recalls the difficulty Skinners Pond lobster fishermen had getting out of their port last year on setting day.
He also knows how some had trouble getting in with their catch the following day.
Depending on weather conditions, the situation might not be any different this fall, but going forward, Aylward is optimistic of safer passage.
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea met with fishermen on the end of the port’s west block Friday morning to announce her government has approved a major upgrade project for the wharf.
The work will be carried out next year, likely to be completed prior to the start of the 2016 fall lobster season.
The west block will be extended in a sock-like pattern in an effort to prevent sand from gathering near the entrance.
“There’s always going to be some sand gathering, because the size of the pond is not very large relative to the tide. There’s just not very much flushing going on,” commented Vincent Lays, a coastal engineer with the consulting firm, CBCL Limited.
He relied on historical data and information from fishermen to design the extension.
“What you want is to prevent it from settling there in the first place,” he said. “It’s driven by waves coming from the north. These waves generate large currents along the shore that swirl around coastal structures and end up depositing the sand in quieter areas.”
The way the extension is designed is meant to limit that settling.
Since it won’t stop sand from gathering entirely, Shea said the extension will have a flat surface so that land-based equipment can drive out onto it to scoop out whatever sand does get in the way.
The consulting study cost around $50,000.
The MP said she could not disclose the estimated figure for next year’s project, pointing out that’s subject to the public tendering process, but she confirmed the cost will be in excess of half a million dollars.
Aylward noted a project a few years ago, which extended the north wall, helped with the drifting sand, but he is confident the planned work will make the entrance even safer.
“It has a lot to do with safety,” Aylward stressed.
“This is the most important thing, when you’re going out or going in. If your boat gets sideways, you can lose your boat.”
With 61 lobster boats and about 70 boats in total using the port during the fishing season, Aylward said Skinners Pond now rates as the fourth or fifth busiest harbour on P.E.I.
Brian Aylward of Skinners Pond is optimistic of safer passage out of the harbour for fishermen after an announcement of a major project for the wharf.