DIGBY — Something new is planned for Digby — Port Day.

With some significant improvements and service arrangements taking place in the port, including construction of a new breakwater and wharf extension, Digby Port Day 2013 is ready to go on Aug. 14.

“The objective of Port Day 2013 is to celebrate our new capacities, to provide information to the general public … about the improvements being made at the port,” Jeff Sunderland, Digby’s port manager said in a recent news release.

The day will include a symposium of marine and other industry leaders discussing a wide array of economic development options and opportunities for Digby’s port.

The Digby and Area Board of Trade also played a key role in establishing Port Day.

“The Port of Digby is an essential component of this community’s ongoing economic development and business expansion strategies,” said board of trade president Peter MacLellan.

The day’s events will take place at the Digby Pines resort.

Some of the port improvements include a floating slip, with five floating docks that are each 19.5 metres in length. The five docks will accommodate about 20 boats.

The floating docks are replacing a 75-year-old finger dock extension that was demolished in 2012.

Floating docks are safer. They are connected to the main wharf deck by an aluminum gangway that rises and falls with the tides, Sunderland said in a previous interview.

Other floating docks are already in place.

“We will be able to take 64 boats on the floating slips,” he said.

And about 20 boats tie to the older, existing wharf for a total of about 84 vessels.

There’s even a waiting list now for fishermen who want to use the floating dock system.

Ottawa has paid for 100 per cent of the work.

West Nova MP Greg Kerr announced $7.6 million last summer for the projects.

The Digby Harbour Port Association purchased the wharf for $1.2 million in December 2007, with help from Ottawa in securing loans to be repaid over 15 years.

Before that, the wharf had been owned by the Maritime Harbours Society, which got it for a dollar in 1999 when Ottawa divested it.

Story by Brian Medel

The Halifax Chronicle Herald

July 31, 2013