Two year old bill going to collection agency
© Nilfanion/ Wikipedia commons
Canadian Coast Guard offshore research vessel Alfred Needler in drydock in St. Johns, NL.
By Greg Bennett
The Town of Shelburne is taking the Canadian Coast Guard to a collection agency over a $30,000 bill.
On March 15, 2011, the Coast Guard offshore research vessel Alfred Needler was preparing to dock at the wharf and struck a section of the Shelburne Marine Terminal while still moving at an estimated 4-5 knots.
Around 8:30 that morning, Port Manager Don Faye was alerted about the accident by a taxi driver who was parked on the wharf at the time.
“It scared him,” said Faye. “He asked if the Coast Guard was doing wharf demolitions.”
Faye was told the captain of the ship was not available to talk. A message was eventually passed to a crewmember about the damage to the wharf.
The ship left the Shelburne wharf the next morning.
Faye said a subsequent survey of the wharf found significant damage to a pillar as well as a six-metre concrete and wooden section of the deck.
Since that time, the Town has had the wharf repaired but for more than a year it has been looking to get its money back.
Town CAO Dylan Heide said there has been no response from the Canadian Coast Guard in connection with the outstanding bill.
“I almost wonder if there’s been some confusion …maybe we haven’t reached the right person yet,” he said. “Maybe the collection agency will have better luck.”
At a recent Town Council meeting, auditors suggested that unless the bill is paid in a reasonable amount of time, the expense may have to be written off as uncollectable.
The CAO said that $30,000 represented a large part of the port authority’s annual budget. Money that if not collected wouldn’t be available to improve the condition of the wharf.
“If you look at it that way it’s a lot of money,” he said.