Powell River will be receiving some of the federal government’s millions of dollars in harbour funding announced on Monday, March 11.
Along the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island, 35 small craft harbours will receive a total of $33 million in funding with the aim of creating jobs and helping local economies, according to a media release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The release stated that small craft harbours bolster local tourism, recreation and commercial fishing.
“Today’s investment will mean stronger coastal communities in our province,” said Steveston-Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido during the announcement made at Steveston Harbour. “Investing in local small-craft harbours helps not just the commercial fishing industry, but the communities in British Columbia as a whole. The work carried out will renew and maintain the infrastructure that is essential to the region, and stimulate job opportunities that will benefit fish harvesters and support our local communities.”
The amount of funding each harbour will receive is not yet available.
“We knew it was coming,” said City of Powell River director of infrastructure, Tor Birtig. “What we don't know is to what extent the dollar value is but we were aware that they were going to be doing a bunch of work in our Westview harbour.”
The money is earmarked for harbour projects, including float and wharf reconstructions, breakwater access development, dredging and electrical reconstruction.
In Powell River, the south commercial harbour will see the improvements, according to Birtig.
“From what I understand, I know they were going to do some electrical work and other than that some dock work,” said Birtig. He added that there were also issues with bull rails and decking.
Small craft harbours provide critical support to the commercial fishing industry, which had landings valued at almost $3.4 billion in 2016.
According to the release, the federal Small Craft Harbours Program works with municipalities to renew the network of small craft harbours, and to repair, maintain and build key harbours across the country by renewing and maintaining marine infrastructure. Small harbours support local communities by creating jobs and opportunities that benefit fish harvesters, their families, residents and visitors, while facilitating growth in the tourism sector.
The $33 million is on top of $100 million that was already set to be invested from 2018 to 2019 for repairs, construction, maintenance and dredging at core commercial fishing harbours across the country.
In addition to Powell River, harbours receiving the funding include the following: Port Hardy; Campbell River; Gibsons; Heriot Bay; Zeballos; Deep Bay; Kelsey Bay; Bella Coola; Crofton; Finn Bay; Ford Cove; French Creek; Hartley Bay; Horton Bay; Kitamaat Village; Kitkatla; Klemtu; McMillan Island; Minstrel Island; North Galiano; Porpoise Bay; Port Alberni; Port Edward; Queen Charlotte City; Sidney Breakwater; Sointula; Squirrel Cove; Steveston Gulf; Steveston Paramount; Tofino (4th Street); Tofino (Armitage); Tofino (Wingen); Ucluelet (Otter Street); and Ucluelet West.