Despite some residents and even the town council voicing their disapproval, 3Ts Ltd. of Woody Point is still pursuing a wharf and drydock facility in Bonne Bay.
Earlier this year, the fishing enterprise registered its plans for the facility, to be located in the community of Glenburnie, for environmental assessment.
In July, Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Andrew Parsons decided the project should proceed to being subjected to an environmental preview report in light of the public comments his department had received.
Those comments included the town council of Glenburnie-Birchy Head-Shoal Brook, during a meeting in late June, having denied 3Ts permission to construct the facility.
Council thought the project was unsuitable for the proposed location because it was too industrial for what is mostly a residential area. The council also expressed concerns the project might negatively impact the ecological integrity of the estuary in which it would be located and, in turn, not fit with the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation of Gros Morne National Park.
In September, the company informed the provincial government that it still wished to pursue the idea. In late October, the department announced an environmental assessment committee had been struck to provide scientific and technical advice to the minister and to prepare guidelines for conducting the environmental preview report.
Todd Young, chief executive officer of the family-run business, was in St. John’s this week to meet with the committee and expects to be provided with the guidelines the company must follow in the next few weeks.
He doesn’t expect there to be any big changes to what the company proposed initially. One big hurdle will be determining if the town has any jurisdiction to allow or deny any development below the high-water mark of the beach area.
The infrastructure would involve two finger piers measuring around 250 feet long and 20 feet wide, spaced apart around 50 feet. There would be a mechanism by which the space between the wharves can be barred off, then the water pumped out so it can be used as a drydock.
Young said it is more of a wharf than a drydock. The 3Ts fish plant has a 200-foot wharf, but the company just bought a 115-foot vessel and Young said it needs more docking capacity than it currently has.
Not only is it something his company needs, noted Young, but it is something that will be available for others to also use.
“I think it would be an asset to the community,” said Young. “There are no other wharves in the area to tie on a boat and you can’t even launch a boat off in the community anywhere.”
As for the heritage argument, Young said fishing schooners used to be moored off up around Glenburnie in days gone by.
Greg Wood has been a vocal opponent of the proposed project. He led a campaign urging others to also express their opinion if they didn’t think it was a good idea for Bonne Bay.
He is saddened and frustrated the company still wants to do this, despite the opposition.
“People come to Gros Morne to see natural places and to see beautiful scenery,” said Wood. “To put an industrial development like that right on the beach in the middle of the park just lacks any kind of credibility whatsoever.”
Wood has already sent out a mass email urging people to once again voice their displeasure about the project. He will be following the developments and said he will most definitely be making a submission to the provincial government when it seeks public input on the environmental preview report the company will have to eventually submit.
According to the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, the guidelines approved by the committee will be posted on the government’s website.
To follow the progress of this project’s environmental assessment on the government website: https://www.mae.gov.nl.ca/env_assessment/projects/Y2018/1962/index.html