While there was no money allocated in the P.E.I. capital budget for the fishery, that didn’t prevent the opposition from posing plenty of questions about the industry to Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Alan McIsaac.
Rustico-Emerald MLA Brad Trivers says the North Rustico Harbour requires improvements to the winch area on the wharf and repairs to the breakwater.
“There’s a bullpen wharf area for dredging and development that needs to happen. There’s some parking area maintenance that needs to be done as well, and there’s some general wharf repairs to fix safety and usability issues,” Trivers says.
Trivers suggests the province invest in such infrastructure, but McIsaac says wharf repairs are a federal responsibility.
“We also have worked with the minister of transportation in access to roads and the parking lot areas to get the fishermen down there, and we’ll continue to carry on that work,” McIsaac says.
Trivers says companies such as Raspberry Point Oysters use the winch area on the wharf and it’s getting old and degraded.
“So, I’m glad to hear you’re aware of the issues, and that hopefully you’ll be addressing them, maybe with the help of federal funding, but we didn’t see it in this capital budget, but perhaps in a future one.”
Meanwhile, Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie says there are several silting issues at Naufrage Harbour. He described situations where it was so bad boats couldn’t come in and out.
“I mean ‘could not’,” LaVie says. “They were actually hauling their boats across to get to another harbour.”
LaVie, the Conservative fisheries critic, says he was in contact with federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc and been assured Ottawa will be doing work at the harbour next year.
LaVie also asked Transportation and Infrastructure and Energy Minister Paula Biggar when the bridge at the port of North Lake would be repaired or replaced.
Biggar says the bridge has been under restricted access since November 2016 and will continue to be monitored.
LaVie also wants the minister to meet area residents and the port authority.
Opposition Leader James Aylward picked up that thread, asking what the weight restrictions would be and whether an ambulance would be able to cross the bridge.
“I can’t say for certain, but if it’s a van, I would expect it would meet the weight requirement, but I certainly stand to be corrected and will verify that,” Biggar says.
She was also unsure whether a fire truck could go across the bridge.
“Traffic volumes on that are quite low, so as terms of priority in replacement of bridges, it’s all part of our capital planning. Where the high traffic volumes are on bridges that are restricted would certainly have more priority than a bridge with the low traffic counts that are there at the moment.” Biggar says. She says she doesn’t view replacing the bridge as critical since the detour is only seven kilometres.