The Municipality of North Cowichan is considering options for the aging Maple Bay Wharf. (Citizen file)

The Municipality of North Cowichan is considering options for the aging Maple Bay Wharf. (Citizen file)

North Cowichan considers options for aging Maple Bay Wharf

Public and stakeholder groups will be consulted

North Cowichan will soon be looking for public input into what will replace the aging Maple Bay Wharf.

At the municipality’s committee of the whole meeting on June 7, Tenille Thompson, a consultant from Urban Systems who is working with North Cowichan on the project, said three options are currently being considered.

The first option is to replace the wharf as is in its current configuration, the second is to replace the wharf with a new structure that could improve its functionality and accommodate other uses, and the third is to remove the wharf completely and provide improved beach services.

“As we engage with stakeholder groups and the public, other options may come up,” Thompson said.

“Once we’ve done our homework, we’ll then move into the concept development and public engagement phase of the project.”

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The Maple Bay Wharf facility on Beaumont Road consists of a wharf head, gangway, floats and mooring piles.

The wharf provides 300 feet of dock space with an adjacent parking lot with approximately 12 parking spaces.

The facility is primarily used for temporary summer moorage as it is not protected from wind and waves in the winter months.

In 2017, North Cowichan, which owns and operates the wharf, commissioned a condition assessment of the facility.

Although the age of the facility is unknown, the assessment indicated that the floats, mooring piles and gangway had reached their service life, and the wharf head had just five to 10 years remaining.

The municipality continues to maintain the facility to a reasonable level through its wharf contractor, but a staff report said its replacement needs to be considered.

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Staff have budgeted $150,000 in 2022 for conceptual design drawings of a new wharf and community engagement.

North Cowichan’s director of operations Shawn Cator said upgrading the facility is an option, but considering the seasonal usage and low revenue generated, staff are of the view that North Cowichan should also consider other options.

“Proceeding with the conceptual design and engagement plan will provide council with public input to inform decision-making for replacing the wharf in a future budget,” Cator said.

“Considering alternative uses and a similar structure will help identify a project that ensures it is well suited and functional for the community.”

Coun. Christopher Justice said he finds it is an exciting and necessary project, but he wouldn’t support the complete removal of the wharf.

“The wharf is the heart of the Maple Bay community and the historical focus of the bay,” he said.

“It’s iconic to the community’s character. I think we need more space for visits and short-term users, rather than long-term moorage and commercial operations there, but it’s probably premature to discuss these options at this time.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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