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Spaniard's Bay council to tackle wharf's future in 2018

The government wharf in Spaniard's Bay is presently in a state of disrepair.
The government wharf in Spaniard's Bay is presently in a state of disrepair. - Andrew Robinson

Town has discussed with Small Craft Harbours possibility of ownership transfer

SPANIARD'S BAY, NL — Taking a turn onto Bishop's Cove Road in Spaniard's Bay, it won't be long before you find the local wharf.

Property of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the wharf has surely seen better days, with grass poking out of the concrete and some portions leaning precariously towards the water.

"The wharf down there, I don’t think it has much longevity to it," Mayor Paul Brazil said at Monday night's council meeting.

The wharf's future came up after Coun. David Smith mentioned speaking with several residents about the property. He noted there have been rumours floating around Spaniard's Bay about government funding to spruce up the wharf.

"There's an awful lot of boat owners in town, and there would be more," Smith said. "There's a marina in Harbour Grace and Bay Roberts and from what I hear, they're pretty well booked up. You can't get a place to tie up a boat."

According to Mayor Paul Brazil, the previous council met with officials from DFO's Small Craft Harbours division a few months ago. Drawings were presented to the town, but Brazil said council members who were more connected with boat users indicated the drawings were unsatisfactory and suggested some improvements.

"They've told us that they will be back as soon as they have that done and they had a reasonable probability that there might be some funding coming forward," said the mayor, who added he expects to hear back from Small Craft Harbours in the spring.

Any funding from government would come under conditions whereby DFO would divest itself of the wharf and the town would take ownership. According to the mayor, the town would then look to either have the local harbour authority or a newly formed board oversee operations. Municipal Affairs would also need to sign off on any transfer of ownership to the town.

Brazil indicated an inadequate number of berths was a central point of contention with respect to the design presented earlier this year.

"Pretty soon if something is not done, our understanding is Small Crafts is going to barricade it and start the process of removing it," said Brazil.

The mayor went on to point out the cost of any redevelopment would climb with the addition of more berths.

It was agreed the town would look to set up a meeting with the local harbour authority early in the new year.

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