(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Village of Masset gets set to manage local harbour

The idea was a long time in dock, but it’s nearly ready to sail.

The Village of Masset plans to take over operations of the Delkatla Small Craft Harbour.

Masset councillors voted unanimously last week to negotiate a lease and transfer agreement with the Delkatla Slough Harbour Authority — the volunteer board that currently runs the harbour as part of the federal Small Craft Harbours program.

“We’re basically at the stage where we have all the information that we’re going to get,” said Mayor Andrew Merilees.

“My personal thought is that I think it will be an asset to the community, having the Village of Masset take some control of it over the long term, though I recognize there will certainly be some growing pains as we try to figure it out.”

In recent years, Small Craft Harbours has reconstructed harbour floats and installed new pilings, in part to get it ready for transfer to the village.

Councillors expect the village will be able to maintain the harbour through user fees, and avoid any extra debt.

Trevor Jarvis, Masset’s chief administrative officer, said that under a typical lease the village would only take on regular maintenance and operations while Small Craft Harbours would continue to fund major capital projects such as new pilings.

Although there is a harbour master working now, in recent years the volunteer harbour authority has struggled with staffing as well as regular maintenance check-ups.

“Having that regular information flow going back keeps us at a reasonable spot in the cue, so things don’t fall by the wayside,” Jarvis said.

A final lease and transfer agreement will go to Masset council for a vote before the decision is final.

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