What’s next for Sidney’s Beacon Wharf?

The political future of the wharf will play a role in this year’s planning process.

Sidney Director of Engineering and Works Tim Tanton says 2015 will be the planning year for replacing or renovating the wharf at the end of Beacon Avenue.

Sidney’s iconic wharf at the east end of Beacon Avenue could be replaced, refurbished or even removed — although that last option is certainly not favoured by the Town of Sidney.

There are big plans in the works for Beacon Wharf. On the political scene, Mayor Steve Price has been touting the potential for the wharf to be the base for a Gulf Islands passenger ferry service. The idea has gained enough traction with the Capital Regional District that they have matched Sidney’s money to come up with $30,000 for a study this year on what it will take to bring the wharf up to snuff.

“Whether or not the service is a go,” Price says, “we need information on what it’s going to take to make the wharf  useable year-round.”

Tim Tanton, Sidney’s director of engineering and works, says the last structural assessment of Beacon Wharf was done in 2010. That led to more than $300,000 spent in 2012 on upgrades. However, the condition of the wharf overall meant vehicles had to be prohibited and large vessels could no longer be allowed to dock.

This year, Tanton said, is the planning stage to determine what’s next.

A mix of concrete, asphalt, wood beams and pilings, Tanton said weather, water and rot have taken their toll on the wharf. Its age has meant constant repair and to make it a focal point in the downtown, it will require fixing.

The wharf was divested from the federal government to Sidney in 2006 but has a long history in the community.

Not only was it used for ferry services long before BC Ferries came to be, it was also the terminus of a rail line. Tanton said crews have found the remnants of an old rail bed beneath Beacon Avenue during underground works.

There’s a lot of history there, Tanton said. While any planning for the future of the wharf will probably include the idea of removing it completely, Tanton said that’s just not likely.

“This (wharf) is in the heart of the city,” he said.

The terms of reference for a consultant’s report on what’s to be done to upgrade the wharf are currently being written, Tanton said. Options being considered, he continued, will include keeping the structure as-is, with new wood pilings and other infrastructure. Or, he said a rock and fill option might be considered. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, expenses and impact on Sidney’s waterfront.

No matter what option is chosen in the end, Tanton said the eventual rehabilitation work there will be noisy.

“There just isn’t a quiet way of doing this.”

The political future of the wharf will play a role in this year’s planning process, he continued. If uses such as a passenger ferry service or public mooring are considered, that has to be part of the consultant’s terms of reference.

Again, more options — and that could mean more money when it comes time to build anew.

Factors such as the environmental impact of new wharf structures must also be considered, he said.

Making the wharf usable all year long is part of the plan, Tanton added. That could mean creating a breakwater to shield vessels from the wind and waves of the winter months. He said a rock breakwater is an option, but unlikely due to the depth of the water in front of the wharf and the resulting expense.

On the table is a floating breakwater. Tanton said Port Alberni recently put in a floating structure to act as a breakwater. It was supplied from the Seagate Pontoons (of which Sidney’s Marker Group is a partner) and is a rebuilt  piece of a once-floating bridge from Washington State’s Hood Canal Bridge.

Tanton said that’s an option.

Price said many ideas will be considered for the future of Beacon Wharf. He added he does not expect it to go anywhere — so it’ll come down to the best case to refurbish it.

As for the cost of future construction, Price said the Town will search for grant sources and other opportunities to share the expense. Should the ferry service idea take hold, he said the province and federal government might step in to help.

Just Posted

Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

Tow and repairs cost thousands, engineer says drivers’ responsibility, Canadian Tire stay quiet

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

Province funds $88.6M for two new schools in Langford by 2022

Langford gets 500-seat elementary school and a 700-seat middle school

Derelict trimaran removed from Oak Bay waters

Boat has been aground near Oak Bay Marina for over five months

Saanich says it will take months to fix a sink hole that appeared during ‘Snowmaggedon’

Roads closed in the area after the sink hole first opened in early February

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read