UPDATE – fed dollars underwrite Alberni wharf catamaran

A floating wharf project in Alberni is among those being funded with money from federal small craft harbours.

The re-development of Port Alberni’s Fishermen’s Wharf is a step closer to fruition.

On Friday, federal fisheries minister Keith Ashfield​ announced that the government is investing $57 million to repair and maintain small craft harbours across Canada.

A floating wharf project in Port Alberni is among those being funded, a background document noted.

Specifically, a floating steel catamaran to be erected at Fishermen’s Harbour is being funded, said small craft harbours spokesperson Robin Richardson.

“It will facilitate fishing net repair as well as loading and unloading cargo,” Richardson said.

“It’s a small piece of a larger project that will support the commercial fishing fleet.”

The release wasn’t specific about how much money the Alberni project was receiving.

The exact amount of money being awarded won’t be disclosed because doing so would compromise the project’s tendering process before it starts, Richardson added.

The announcement was sudden and came as a surprise to the Port Alberni Port Authority.

“We’re still getting information about this yet so I can’t comment too much,” spokesperson Dave McCormick said .

Port manager Brad Madelung was away on business and not available for comment.

The pontoon platform is part of a larger project, the funding for which is yet to be received.

Announced last year, the $7 million project when completed will include a 50-foot wide by 450-foot long floating breakwater to the south side of the harbour.

Other additions included land for additional parking, a new icing facility, fuel depot, float plane docking facility and another service bay float for boats.

Also envisioned is a cruise ship spot to host tendering and small vessels that can also serve as a location for the public.

“It’s a project with several components but the key is the breakwater,” McCormick said.

The port authority hopes to start work in the project at the end of September or early October, McCormick said.

“It’s a complex project and we’re not going to push anything for the sake of the calendar.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com