The Digby wharf’s middle ell will start coming down next week.

Dexter Construction won the $441,550 contract to demolish the condemned section of the Digby wharf starting Nov. 1.

They have until the end of February to finish but Jeff Sunderland, manager for the Digby Harbour Port Authority says they are shooting to be done for Christmas.

Sunderland says the timing is perfect with the busy part of the lobster season winding down now.

The tender stipulates that the wharf be fully accessible and functional throughout the demolition.

A further contract will be let for dredging and installation of the poles for floating docks.

Sunderland says, optimistically the new floating dock system could be ready to go by April.

The floating docks will match the ones beside the middle ell. It will have five floats with room for two boats on either side, for a total of 20 boats.

Currently the port authority only allows boats 55’ and under to use the floats. Right now they are seven boats over capacity, with more of the scallop fleet yet to return and expecting additional scallop and lobster boats through the fall, says Sunderland.

He says they are accommodating everyone with some juggling.

Drilling has just wrapped up around the location of the old pier/ new breakwater just north of the wharf.

The ‘geotechnical investigation’ was to determine what the soil is like on the footprint where the breakwater will go.

Sunderland says there is 10’ of silt in some places and 40’ in others.

Different soils he says will displace differently under the weight of the stone.

It is important to understand what the soil will do, he says, in order to plan how much rock will be needed, how to pile it and how steep to make the sides of the breakwater.

That part of the project is still in the permitting process—which started in June and may take until the new year to complete.

Sunderland says construction schedules are often subject to change, but at this point, the breakwater could be done for June 2013.

He says the breakwater will protect the wharf from nor’easters that pound in across the Annapolis Basin.

Digby mayor Ben Cleveland has said the old Digby Pier lighthouse, recently returned from Saint John, will be erected at the end of the new breakwater. He is planning a ‘Let’s get lit’ party for June.

The complete project (middle ell demolition, dredging, floating docks, and breakwater) should cost approximately $7.4 million, says Sunderland.

The government of Canada is paying for the project.

Earlier federal funding of $3 million, just after the authority obtained the wharf from the previous owners, allowed the authority to replace missing decking, remove a sunken boat and fixing broken ladders.

And last spring, another $250,000 from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for storm damage repair allowed the port authority to put new decking on the outside faces.

Story by: Jonathon Riley
The Digby County Courier
October 24, 2012