Gabriola’s Green’s Landing Wharf is slated for more than $110,000 in repairs – welcome news for Mudge Island residents who rely on it as a transportation link.
Last year, Ottawa decalred the wharf as surplus and announced intentions to divest itself of the responsibility.
Jack Schick, chairman of the Green Wharf Preservation Society, said residents are pleased the federal public works department is repairing the wharf. Mudge Island residents were worried they would lose access to the wharf, which is crucial for daily commuting and in emergency situations.
“We were quite worried last winter that the wharf was going to be left to deteriorate and sink into the sea,” said Schick. “Our main concern is the continuation of access to Gabriola … there are no other public wharfs we can use.”
Repairs include overhauling the timber trestle with new piling and substructure timbers, as well as repairing the decking and replacing the gangway and float. The project is estimated to cost $110,700.
Meanwhile, the Regional District of Nanaimo is exploring the possibility of taking over responsibility for the wharf.
Dennis Trudeau, manager of transportation and waste services, said the RDN applied to the B.C. Ministry of Environment under the B.C. Assets and Lands Corporation for the wharf’s water lot last spring. That application was returned last month, because the province is still waiting for Ottawa to resolve some requirements before the water lot can be transferred.
There has been no progress on divestment of the wharf; however, in an e-mail to the News Bulletin a public works spokesman said the organization “remains hopeful a divestiture is possible with the Regional District of Nanaimo”.
Trudeau said the wharf provides a transportation node on the island and is an emergency backup location. It will also help with tourism and economic development, he added.
The RDN estimates it would take $50,000 a year to keep the dock functioning and safe.
“We are serious in our intent to investigate fully to see what the costs are,” said Trudeau.
Currently, the RDN is waiting for the requirement between the provincial and federal governments to be resolved before it moves forward on other steps, which include consulting with First Nations, examining and amending the Descanso Bay Wharf Service bylaw and consulting with the landowner for road access.