Fisherman’s Wharf boat launch and timber approach (Cole Schisler photo)

Fisherman’s Wharf boat launch and timber approach (Cole Schisler photo)

Conceptual plans unveiled for Fisherman’s Wharf upgrade

Senior project engineer, Andrew Cornell presented the design at the August 19 Town council meeting

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, (DFO), has developed conceptual plans to upgrade Fisherman’s Wharf.

The upgrade will be part of the Small Craft Harbours, (SCH), program. The DFO maintains a network of these harbours to provide commercial fishers and other users with safe harbour facilities. Under the program, Fisherman’s Wharf would still be managed by the Ladysmith Fisherman’s Wharf Authority.

Senior project engineer, Andrew Cornell presented the conceptual design at the August 19 Town council meeting. The goal of the presentation was to raise awareness of issues around the wharf, and share the initial concept.

Fisherman’s Wharf currently has a long timber approach and three moorage floats. There is a boat ramp operated by the town, and an existing rock breakwater 50 metres offshore. Cornell explained the timer wharf is deteriorating and the load rating of the wharf has decreased. The wharf is used by vehicles for loading and other commercial purposes.

“What we’re proposing to do as an early stage concept is to build between the existing offshore breakwater, to shore to transit that 50 metre section with a drivable rock causeway,” Cornell said. “The second stage would be to construct a platform coming off of the causeway. It would be a pile supported platform with a crane, and possibly a small float that would basically replicate and enhance the functionality of the existing wharf head.”

SCH have identified a strong potential to secure funding for the project. As they move forward, they want to ensure all stakeholders are consulted, and consensus on project design is reached before any work begins. Once there is clear support for the project, SCH will develop more in depth plans.

“The priority for SCH is to maintain loading functionality to support commercial fishing. Any development after that would have to be with all stakeholders involved,” Cornell said. “We would not proceed with something without consulting everyone.”

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The project was designed in step with Ladysmith’s Waterfront Plan. In fact, the Waterfront Plan was influenced by concepts that previous SCH staff presented to council. There are opportunities for development not included in the project, such as a boardwalk or gazebo, examples of which exist in Gibsons, B.C., and Campbell River.

“This is a good first step,” Mayor Aaron Stone said. “There will be more formal engagement with the Town, Stz’uminus, and Small Craft Harbours moving forward.”