Proposed Hammond Bay dock raises concerns

NANAIMO - Structure would be one of first erected into Hammond Bay.

Emotions over a proposed private dock are bubbling to the surface in Hammond Bay.

Tom Harris, who owns a home at 3884 Hammond Bay Rd., applied to the B.C. government for a foreshore lease to build a walkway and dock to gain direct beach access to his property.

The application was filed in mid May, notices of which were posted in the May 19 edition of the News Bulletin and on the home’s property facing Hammond Bay Road.

Harris said he’s wanted the dock since he bought the property in early 2015 and that anyone who has waterfront property can apply for a foreshore lease.

The application calls for a walkway that leads to a 12-metre long gangway that connects to a three-metre by nine-metre floating dock to be constructed by Island Marine Construction if approved.

There are currently no docks in the bay.

Margo Linder, who has property on nearby Morningside Beach, has started an online petition on Change.org and has also written an appeal against the proposal to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Tony Harris, Harris’s son, has posted a letter in favour of the dock on the Change.org site.

Linder said she and others opposed to the dock fear if one dock is approved others will follow, disrupting the character of the Hammond Bay shoreline and possibly causing environmental damage to the sea floor, which supports oyster beds, crabs and other marine life.

“He can’t be the only one who can afford to put a ramp out there and if Harris gets permission to do it, why can’t everybody else?” Linder asked. “There are a couple of bed and breakfasts out there that would probably love to have it. It really won’t end with one. Why would it end with one?”

Harris said he objects to misinformation being posted online by those protesting the dock, which include indicating its proposed location to be in the middle of Pipers Lagoon and misrepresenting the size of the dock’s footprint in online illustrations.

“The dock is to have a little fishing boat and some people who want to go kayaking or something like that and our family and our friends and our neighbours, they can use it to put a kayak in the water,” Harris said. “If friends come and anchor in the bay they can bring their dinghy to the dock and get up to the house.”

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations will take public feedback until today (June 30). Please e-mail authorizingagency.nanaimo@gov.bc.ca or visit http://arfd.gov.bc.ca/ApplicationPosting/index.jsp.