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St. Anthony Port Authority awaiting ACOA response

Ernest Simms gazes across the harbour at Murray’s Point. Simms is the chair of the St. Anthony Port Authority.
Ernest Simms gazes across the harbour at Murray’s Point. Simms is the chair of the St. Anthony Port Authority. - Stephen Roberts

Murray’s Point wharf development crucial, says Port Authority and mayor




The St. Anthony Port Authority isn’t yet sure where funding will come from for a new wharf in the town’s harbour.

The Port Authority is hoping to construct a new 400-foot wharf at Murray’s Point on the east side of St. Anthony harbour.

The wharf would include all the amenities for container traffic, and be able to accommodate larger cruise ships.

The construction of the wharf would be a second phase in developing St. Anthony Harbour.

The first phase involved dredging near the mouth of the harbour, making the channel wider and deeper to allow for safer navigation and room for larger vessels to maneuver.

That work, which began last year, is nearing completion.

The new wharf enables cruise ships to enter the harbour, something that couldn't have happened before the harbour was dredged.

That means an opportunity for more tourism and business for the town.

The amenities at the wharf, with a crane installed, would also be able to accommodate and load cargo for container traffic.

However, the big question now is, where will the money come from to build this.

Port Authority chair Ernest Simms estimates it will cost between $15-20 million and take three to five years to construct.

He says the port authority applied to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) for funding two years ago but have not yet received a response.

If ACOA approves the funding application, he says, the port authority would still have to pay a potion of the total cost.

If its share is anything like 10 per cent, he says the port cannot afford $1.5 to 2 million.

The $900,000 for the dredging at Harbour Rock was provided by ACOA.

The port authority is also in the process of applying to another program for funding.

“We’re in an area and in a position whereby, with what we have here now, if we don’t have this infrastructure we’re going to be left out in the cold,” Simms tells the Northern Pen.

As for other funding options, Simms says there isn’t much else available.

St. Anthony Mayor Desmond McDonald also supports the project and feels development at Murray’s Point is imperative.

“If we want to keep moving the port forward, the development has got to happen,” he tells the Northern Pen. “We can’t stand still when the rest of the world is moving forward around us.”

Dwayne Cull, St. Anthony constituency assistant for Long Range Mountains MP Gudie Hutchings, says the federal representative has been working with the port authority on the file.

According to Cull, Hutchings supports the proposed wharf at Murray’s Point.

However, he says, getting funding for these types of projects is not always easy.

“I mean every MP would like to be able to fire off money as best they can,” he tells the Northern Pen. “But it’s not always easy to get, sometimes you got to be creative in the way you get it and sometimes you got to take it in stages.”

Cull says he’s aware that an application is with ACOA. If approved, he suggests that any cost to the port authority could be paid off over time.

“As one project it might be a lot to come up with, but over time you might be able to carve off pieces of it here and there,” he says. “I do know it’s on ACOA’s desk. As to how it might proceed after this, who knows. You just got to keep at it, keep asking and keep putting pressure on it and somewhere along the line it’ll work out, hopefully.”

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