Port Edward Harbour Authority is on a mission to clear its docks of abandoned vessels. In a matter of days, the last of six boats approved for funding through Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Small Craft Harbours’ Abandoned and Wrecked Vessel Removal Program will be grounded for good.
“We’re just in the final stages of the last ones being crushed,” said Keri Weick, the general manager for the Port Edward Harbour Authority. “We have to go through the full process of stripping the boats of anything that can be recycled, anything that can come off those boats. It has to be done environmentally friendly, every regulation has to be hit on. We’ve gone through all those processes.”
The last boats of the six are expected to be taken care of in the next day or two, Weick said.
Initially, Port Edward Harbour Authority identified 40 vessels in Rushbrook, Fairview, Port Edward and Cow Bay in such a derelict state they need to be removed. After submitting their findings to Transport Canada, the harbour authority was asked to narrow their scope for the first application to 10 vessels. On March 12, Transport Canada released a breakdown of the funds allocated to small craft harbours. Of the four harbour authorities, Port Edward could receive up to $113,600 — almost $100,000 more than any other small craft harbour awarded the funds. Port Edward Harbour Authority is also removing six times more vessels.
Two of the largest boats came from Rushbrook, Weick said. “They were rafted right up to the docks, so other boats would have had to raft to them. Rushbrook is probably our busiest site. If you go down there you’ll see there’s a little bit more space. Not a huge amount, but it is noticeable so at least we can fit other people closer to the dock.”
DFO’s Small Craft Harbours’ Abandoned and Wrecked Vessel Removal Program will be in effect for the next five years, and small craft harbours can continue to apply for funding during that time. For the next application, Port Edward Harbour Authority is applying to remove five more vessels. Weick said she expects to hear back shortly after the deadline this April.
“It’s not that I get that full chunk of money. What’s going to happen is I have to pay for everything and then I will get reimbursed 75 per cent of what I have to pay out,” she said.
“When we go through this next round, we’ll be able to really spot the vessels that are going to need to go. Now that we’ve already got our feet wet, we’re going to be able to go through the third, fourth and fifth round of it and hopefully get the rest of them. I would like to see all of the 40 vessels gone.”
It’s an objective that’s possible in the next five years with the help of funding, Weick said, especially since part of Port Edward Harbour Authority’s regular budget includes the removal of at least three abandoned vessels.