Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea making a harbour improvement announcement in Pinkney's Point Saturday morning. FRED A. HATFIELD PHOTO
By Eric Bourque
Reconstruction of the south wharf at Pinkney’s Point is among the local harbour improvement projects announced by the federal government as part of its small craft harbours program.
Other projects are in Wedgeport, Meteghan and Saulnierville, said Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, who was in Pinkney’s Point Saturday morning to announce the work officially.
Aside from the reconstruction of the south wharf in Pinkney’s Point, the minister announced maintenance/repair projects for Wedgeport (repair of steel piles on the floating dock system at Wedge Point) and Saulnierville (construction and installation of floating wharfs).
She also announced dredging of the basin and wharf areas in Meteghan and basin dredging for Saulnierville.
“The projects announced today will help ensure that core fishing harbours meet the needs of commercial fishermen and their communities into the future,” the DFO minister said.
Referring in particular to the work in Pinkney’s Point – where she was addressing local fishermen and others – she said this project would be going to tender “in a matter of weeks.”
Bobby Newell, president of Pinkney’s Point’s harbour authority – and one of those on hand to welcome the minister and hear her announcement – cited a wharf fire in Pinkney’s Point decades ago and the work that was done after that blaze.
“They couldn’t repair it (the wharf), it was gone,” he said, “but they cut the old piles just above the low-tide mark and then put the new wharf on top of the old piles … Those old piles have deteriorated.”
Addressing the minister after her announcement, Newell said the community welcomed the news of the wharf reconstruction. He said he knows the government only has so much money to spend and there are plenty of projects to be done.
The minister used her visit to the Pinkney’s Point wharf to raise a couple of other issues, including low lobster prices, an area she said is outside DFO’s jurisdiction but one where perhaps the federal government can still help in some way.
“If there are issues that you want DFO to look at – management measures that will help you raise that price – I’m here to work with you, but it is up to you,” she said. “We’re not going to impose anything on you because marketing lobster is not the jurisdiction of DFO.”
Speaking of markets, the minister cited the announcement of a free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, saying this could have a major positive impact on this country’s seafood industry.
“It represents another huge market and I know that the industry … is already looking and trying to make connections in Europe, where they’re going to capitalize on this opportunity,” she said. “I think it looks very positive for the industry.”
West Nova MP Greg Kerr, who was in Pinkney’s Point with the minister, also spoke of the trade agreement, calling it a “wonderful opportunity.”