Tignish Harbour channel to be widened, straightened

Eric McCarthy
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Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea chats with Michael McInnis, chairman of the Port Authority of Judes Point Tignish and port manager Russell Gallant.

Major project for Jude's Point Harbour Authority to be tendered this summer with work to begin in the fall

TIGNISH — The Harbour Authority of Jude’s Point Tignish expects to gain a safer channel and more berthing space in a project area MP and Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea announced Wednesday. 

The project will only be tendered this summer, so the cost of the project still hasn’t been determined.

“I can assure you it is a significant project,” the minister said. Engineering work carried out in advance of the project announcement, port authority manager Russell Gallant said, was in the half million dollars range.

The federal government’s Economic Action Plan 2014 is providing $40 million in additional funding over two years for repair, construction and maintenance projects at Canada’s small craft harbours.

“In communities like Tignish where the fishing industry is part of the daily fabric of society, small craft harbours play a significant role. The Tignish Harbour is homeport to the largest concentration of fishing vessels in Prince Edward Island,“ said Minister Shea. “This investment is important to support local commercial fisheries and the future of our community.”

This new project, which Shea anticipates will start by fall, includes laying armour stone between the channel and the causeway that leads from Tignish Run to Jude’s Point. The channel will be widened and straightened.

The project also includes extending one wharf wall by about 100 feet and reconstructing another section of wharf, providing additional berthing spaces at Atlantic Canada’s busiest inshore harbour.

Gallant said the harbour is home to about 150 vessels. Another 60 to 70 transient boats use the wharf at times during the fishing season.

The new harbour structure and the armour stone combined, Minister Shea said, will be designed in such a way to limit sedimentation in the channel.

“What’s going on with the channel, it used to be over, about 100 feet, from the road. It’s worked towards the road. It’s changed the flow of the channel. This (project) will redirect it to have better flow going out and a better flush,” McInnis said.

“ It’s the major part of the project, really,” he added. “We need the channel, because the channel is narrowing and its getting dangerous for boats, and there are 150 to 200 boats travelling that channel.” There are places in the channel where boats can hardly meet anymore.

McInnis said the harbour authority has been seeking such a project for about 12 years. Shea said she has been in discussion with the port authority about the work since 2009. She explained the engineering study had to be completed first, as that helped develop models on how to keep the water flowing effectively through the channel for the safety of the fishermen.

Shea commended the port authority for its persistence and interest. “This would not have happened without your hard work. We wouldn’t be standing here today,” she said.

“Right now, the channel is one of the major issues; it’s getting narrower every year, and we’re extending the wharf for more berths. It’s something we really needed,“ McInnis stated. “We’re very grateful to get it.”

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