Area C Director Jim Abram

Wharves trade hands

Strathcona Regional District takes ownership of three wharves from federal government

The Strathcona Regional District is taking over ownership and operation of three wharf facilities from the federal government.

All three – at Owen Bay on Sonora Island, Surge Narrows on Read Island and Port Neville on Johnstone Strait – are within Area C, which is represented by Director Jim Abram.

On Nov. 14, Dr. James Lunney, member of parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni, announced the transfer and presented Abram with a cheque for $2.89 million to cover operational costs and maintain the infrastructure for all three port facilities over an initial 10-year period, with a possibility of future extensions.

The transfer of ownership, under the federal government’s Port Divestiture Program, was announced earlier this year at a regional district board meeting.

Abram said having the regional district take on responsibility for the wharves ensures they will continue to be available to the public.

“These wharf facilities are of the utmost importance to coastal communities and the region as a whole,” Abram said in a news release. “Our acceptance of these sites will ensure the continued availability of critical access points for outer islanders and recreational opportunities for local residents and the boating public.”

Russ Hotsenpiller, chief administrative officer of the Strathcona Regional District, said the regional district is pleased to be able to ensure the communities that rely on the three port facilities continue to be served.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Transport Canada and secured these facilities for continued public use,” Hotsenpiller said in a news release. “The regional district is well positioned to operate these ports in the best interest of the communities we serve.”

The Strathcona Regional District is just the latest local government to take on ownership of federal government port facilities.

Since 1996, Transport Canada has transferred the ownership and operation of more than 80 of its public port facilities in B.C.