Up­grades funded

Skin­ners Pond Har­bour get­ting up­grades

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY ERIC MCCARTHY

“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.

TC MEDIA

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.

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