SUMMERSIDE - The channel that allows ships to come and go from Summerside’s harbour is starting to fill in with silt, but plans are underway to open it again.
The Summerside Port Corporation is in the midst of getting the required environmental permits and approvals needed to have the channel dredged and the sand and mud dumped in the Northumberland Strait.
Arnold Croken, CEO of the Port Corporation, said consultations are underway with fishermen, Indigenous groups and other stakeholders.
If the Port Corporation receives its permits, dredging will start in late October or early November, so as not to interfere with any fishing season. The work is expected to take about three weeks and would move more than 60,000 cubic metres of material out of the channel.
Summerside’s harbour channel is supposed to be 6.7 metres at low tide, but in five spots the low-tide depth has reduced to about 5.5 metres.
“That’s getting into an area that is a little risky for shipping, so we want to make sure the depth is maintained at the 6.7-metres we traditionally had here in Summerside,” said Croken.
The project will be paid for out of the corporation’s own legacy fund, left behind by the federal government when it divested itself of responsibility for the port. Croken said the corporation can apply for additional funding if need be.
It has been about 20 years since Summerside’s channel was last dredged.