The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) has expressed interest in acquiring ownership of the New Brighton dock after receiving word that Transport Canada might be giving it up.
“This is a nightmare for us,” said alternate West Howe Sound director Joyce Clegg, who provided an update on dock restoration work that has been progressing at the July 26 corporate and administrative services committee.
Clegg said a contractor has been busy replacing the planking and expects that Transport Canada intends to do further restorations on the aging dock.
According to a staff report, the federal government has been actively ridding itself of docks like the one on Gambier Island since 1996.
In 2001 the SCRD agreed to acquire the ownership of several docks, including the New Brighton dock. Transport Canada offered $1.2 million in funding to repair the docks during the first five years.
Later, in 2002, it was concluded that the New Brighton dock would require some $185,000 worth of repairs, and ultimately, the transfer of ownership did not occur.
The federal government requested the SCRD respond by Sept. 30.
B.C. Ferries does not use the island for anchor, a spokesperson confirmed.
“The former B.C. ferry that somebody has and is towing to Mexico was in the area recently, the old Queen of Vancouver,” said public affairs manager Darin Guenette.
“We can’t use anything on Gambier and we wouldn’t go to anchor there.”
While SCRD directors expressed interest in the possibility of acquiring the dock, the conversation turned towards the issue of service equity in relation to taxes.
Gibsons director Gerry Tretick described the dock as an expensive one.
“Maybe what we really need is a workshop of some sort,” he suggested. “To make a decision based on an ordinary debate … I don’t think we’ll cover the full gamut of things that need to be discussed.”
SCRD function 345, or Ports Services, includes Halfmoon Bay, Roberts Creek, Elphinstone and West Howe Sound. The Town of Gibsons is also included in the almost $160,000 program.
In 2012, the highest spending as a ratio belonged to West Howe Sound at 31 per cent. Gibsons and Halfmoon Bay were responsible for 20 per cent each.
Budgeting for ports increased by 41 per cent compared to 2011, when $113,000 was allocated.