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Barge terminal demolition nears completion

Council awaits planning department to present site development options
TEAR DOWN: Demolition of the old barge terminal at Powell River’s South Harbour is nearing completion and its new purpose is still in discussion. David Brindle photo

As Powell River’s old barge terminal structure at the South Harbour gets disassembled and removed, there are renewed discussions about the future purpose of the site.

Demolition contractor Augusta Recyclers expects the project to be done and down to the ground early the week of January 8, according to project foreman Phill Long. Augusta was awarded the $24,500 contract in November.

City of Powell River undertook a public-input process for the old terminal in August and approximately 500 people participated.

City director of planning Tom Knight said public response was widely in favour of the terminal site to remain a public space and central to improvements to the sea walk.

“If I had a wish as a planner, I'd love to see a range of servicing there," said Knight, "anything from commercial, restaurants, food servicing and park areas, and make it a great meeting area for people."

City director of infrastructure Tor Birtig said Augusta has removed the corrugated siding from the structure and will soon remove the frame and the old office portion that was on the water side of the building.

Long said Augusta plans to refurbish and re-erect the frame structure and a number of individuals have acquired some of the corrugated siding for various purposes.

Until recently, the structure was used by Transport Canada to move goods and has since been empty and derelict, except for some city equipment storage.

In February, the Canadian Coast Guard is expected to commence construction on a new station at the site, moving from its current location at Willingdon Avenue and Courtney Street.

“That structure will go on the eastern portion of the footprint,” said Birtig. “For the rest of the site, that hasn't been determined. Council is still carrying out their visioning exercise and nothing has been decided."

The Coast Guard is ready to go with its new modular building, according to Knight.

"They've got all of their building plans in place," said Knight. "They're waiting for the city to clear that site off so they can do their thing.”

The coast guard station is a cornerstone for how the rest of the site gets designed, according to Knight. The structure will have an exterior that matches the new wharfinger building near the Westview ferry terminal.

The summaries of the 500 participants in the public-input process will be written up by the planning department and reported to council in the near future.

Because council is still waiting on the report, no funds have been earmarked in the city’s current budget planning specific to any development of the site, according to finance committee chair and councillor Russell Brewer.

Meanwhile, the city has found new uses for the old wharfinger building and shower facilities located at the barge terminal.

“We don't have a need for the office portion of the building, so that is going to be relocated to fill as the concession at Timberlane Park,” said Birtig. “The two washroom buildings will be relocated adjacent to their existing site, closer to the sea walk, so we can use it not only as a facility for the harbour, but for the sea walk patrons.”