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West Point Harbour ‘Impassable’ for Boats

Posted on July 7, 2016

By Sally Pitt, CBC News

Fishermen in West Point are calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to help with a long-term solution to keep sandbars from forming in their harbour.

The sandbars make it difficult for boats to get in and out of the harbour and boats sometimes get stuck, blocking access for other vessels and creating a potentially dangerous situation.

The harbour did have some land-based dredging in April, but the harbour is full of sand again.

“It’s impassable,” said Paul Wood, president of the West Point Harbour Authority.

He estimates the sandbar is expanding by about a foot a day.

‘An unfortunate situation’

“It’s something that we’ve dealt with for a number of years. I’d love to see a long-term solution for this,” said Lionel Livingstone, a fisherman in West Point.

The boat he was on got stuck on the sand for about four-and-a-half hours as he was returning from fishing for bar clams Monday night and had to be towed in.

‘I’d love to see a long-term solution’ – Lionel Livingstone, West Point fisherman

“The sand keeps closing the mouth of it over,” said Livingstone.

“It was rather an unfortunate situation. We just had to wait for the tide to come in, I guess. It’s been an ongoing problem for a number of years.”

Dredging in time for lobster season

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says it is in constant contact with the authority and is aware of the situation.

“The harbour is in the process of being dredged and the dredging should be done in time for the upcoming lobster season,” DFO spokesman Steve Hachey said in an email to CBC News.

The fall lobster season in that area starts on August 9.

Looking for a proper fix

The West Point Harbour Authority said land-based dredging inside the harbour is a short-term solution.

Major dredging was done at the entrance to the harbour three years ago and a breakwater was installed on the east side of the harbour.

“It took about a week to pump sand away from the entrance to the harbour and now it’s filled back in again,” said Wood.

The authority wants to see more extensive dredging again and is calling for the installation of a breakwater on the west side of the harbour.

“I think that’s probably the proper fix to keep this from happening twice a year,” said Wood.

Source: CBC News

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