On Friday, June 22, a huge barge with a crane on it appeared in the shallow waters between the Port Alice Yacht Club and the Rumble Beach Marina, dwarfing all the boats docked there. The mammoth watercraft had been navigated into the tight space to help give the Port Alice Yacht Club a major overhaul.
According to Bob Barbour, the president of the Yacht Club, the facility, which was originally organized and built in the late 60s, is badly in need of upkeep. The club decided to get some of the work done now while Sean Watson of Dabber Construction—the owner of the barge—is working in the area. With the mill down, it is uncertain that these types of services will be available in this area in the future. The total cost of the renovations will be $50,000. If they had to get the same type of service from elsewhere, it would cost $50,000 just to move everything here. Funding for the work will come from revenue generated from the club’s annual and mooring fees.
Originally, cedar logs were used as floats under the docks. Remarkably, they lasted 30 years. Nowadays, cedar is worth a lot more, and is unaffordable for the club’s purposes. They tried using hemlock for floats instead, but bugs ate them in 2 years. Fifteen years ago, the club started using fish farm floats, but some have started to deteriorate. The crane is being used to lift the docks so workers can replace the floats underneath.
The crane is also being used to drive new metal piles and dolphins—the logs or large metal pipes that hold the dock in place—as many of the old wooden ones are now hollow. Sean Watson has added his own creative personal touch to his work by putting a “fake crow” and a funky “cubist” bird assembled from found metal objects, including a shovel, a rake, a pick, bolts and rebar, on top of a couple of new metal dolphins. They are mainly for fun and decoration, but they do tend to deter birds from landing, making a mess and bothering people. Sean has added fake crows and seagulls to many of his contracting jobs in the past.
Work parties of volunteers are also rebuilding some of the docks, which is a ritual the yacht club members engage in every spring. The need for maintenance is ongoing.
The Port Alice Yacht Club has just under 80 members, which has remained steady over the years. There was a small drop in membership when the mill first went bankrupt 15 years ago, but it was short lived. Although the Yacht Club is for Port Alice property owners only, there is a mix of members from elsewhere, including from Alberta and the United States. Bob Barbour believes that the Yacht Club and the marina are a big draw for property sales here.
– Debra Lynn article