Murray River HA

Some members of the Murray River Wharf Harbour Authority are concerned with wharf repairs not being done the way originally proposed. The rock shoreline protection installed is 32 feet wide as opposed to the 16 feet originally planned for. From left are Nathan Irving, Robert Acorn, Sterling Higginbotham and Philip MacLeod, standing on a portion of the original wharf that hasn’t been removed. Between Mr Irving and Mr Acorn there is a hole in the wharf. The Harbour Authority hasn’t been able to find out if the hole will be repaired and who will pay for it. Charlotte MacAulay photo

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Discrepancies in the original repairs for the Murray River wharf have members of the Harbour Authority frustrated.

As part of the approximate $1.2 million DFO project a section of the aging wharf was replaced with a 32-foot wide rock wall that eats into, not only the already sparse parking lot, but also berthing space in itself, said Harbour Authority past president Robert Acorn.

“The floating docks that will replace berthing space are out 10 feet further (into the river) than the normal wharf,” he said.

Current president Nathan Irving questions why there was a need for a rock barrier on an inland harbour.

The wharf also has a much shorter loading area at the east end than originally planned. The harbour authority expected it to be at least 100 feet long. It is 72 feet and can only accommodate one boat at a time.

A DFO spokesperson said “the electrical system, asphalt paving and floating dock installation are ongoing and are scheduled to be complete by the end of July. The slip work is slated to be complete by the end of August.

More than 20 fishermen use the wharf to load and unload traps during lobster season, mussel harvesters unload their catches on a regular basis and several recreational boaters tie up every season.

The repairs were funded by Small Craft Harbours, a division of the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans which currently owns the wharf.

A spokesperson for the province confirmed they are “in discussions with DFO and Public Works Canada on potential divestiture of the Murray River wharf to the province and this discussion is currently ongoing.”

The province currently does not have ownership of any PEI wharves.

When a structure is divested offers would first go to the province, then the municipality, next First Nations communities and then other federal departments or non-profit organizations. Mr Acorn confirmed it will not be the harbour authority, which is a non-profit.

However, the volunteer organization, which is tasked with the day-to-day operations are hopeful they will continue to carry on.

“We make enough to cover the lights and electricity,” Mr Acorn said.

Mr Irving said the Harbour Authority has plans for future development at the wharf including two small buildings for local businesses to set up shop.

The Harbour Authority currently has a five member board including Mr Irving, Mr Acorn, Sterling Higginbotham, Gladstone Higginbotham and Philip MacLeod.

Other damage to the existing floating dock system sustained during Tropical Storm Dorian have yet to be repaired.

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