Nelson Hill

Nelson Hill

Marina carves fresh look into waterfront niche

NANAIMO – Marina shores up business with new tech materials.

Plastic is making its presence felt on the waterfront.

Early in October, Waterfront Suites and Marina announced it had installed and tested the underwater fire suppression system, made from fused, high-density polyethylene pipe, for its new marina.

The plastic pipe water delivery system is the first of its type in B.C. where standards, which vary by community, often require marina fire suppression systems to be made from galvanized steel piping, which deteriorates. Other municipalities opt for land-based stand pipes to supply water to firefighting apparatus or for fireboats to attack blazes from off shore.

Odai Sirri, director of operations for Waterfront Holdings Ltd., said the system tested successfully to more than 3,000 litres per minute or about three times its rated flow capacity without failures.

Capt. Ennis Mond, chief fire prevention officer, said because the piping represented a variation from the local standard, Nanaimo Fire Rescue could only give its approval once an engineer had signed off on a successful pressure test.

Mond said a similar system has been used in Anacortes, Wash., since about 1999 with no issues.

“Time will tell,” Mond said. “I have confidence in it from everything I’ve seen, otherwise we wouldn’t have allowed it.”

The fire suppression system protects a marina dock that is also unique for the region.

The system, produced by Poralu Marine of France, uses an aluminum frame on a polypropylene-coated foam floatation system. The decking is a composite plastic interlocking panel system that comes in various colours. Slotted panels allow light to pass through into the water – helpful to marine habitat – and the decking material is virtually maintenance free. The marina anchoring system also does away with conventional wood and metal pilings.

The Poralu deck system was used for the property’s section of the waterfront walkway as well. The  Poralu system has been used and stood up in a wide range of climates all over the world for more than 40 years.

“The marina industry has changed so much and it has gone away from being a parking lot for boats to being a community for boating enthusiasts,” Sirri said. “I think that’s what we’re trying to promote here and we’re trying to bring best practices to the mid Island region.”