Plans for a potential breakwater in Rennell Sound received lukewarm reception at a community information session in Tlell on Jan. 20.
“There are issues—we knew going in that this wasn’t the perfect location, but this was the next best location that we had access to,” said Derek Ray of Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, which has been hired by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to handle groundwork for the project.
Larry Duke, the District Engineering and Recreation Officer for FLNRO, was at the meeting to consult from a local perspective about the Rennell Sound recreation site.
Mr. Ray presented several plans for a breakwater and boat launch that could satisfy needs at the site, after an initial survey of the area revealed a substantial drop-off after 30 metres, drastically curtailing the options.
“There is a drop-off, which means that if you are building a breakwater… you will need more rock,” Mr Ray. said, adding the cost of the project would double if a new breakwater exceeds 30 metres in length.
The public felt that anything would be better than the way it sits now, but doubted the plans would satisfy every safety concern.
“I recognize fully that the main weakness, of course, is that during certain tides or weather conditions you are still going to have the end of the boat ramp where you are trying to launch exposed into the waves,” Mr. Ray explained.
The launch is in a location notorious amongst users trying to safely load and unload their vessels.
It is thought a breakwater will lessen the risks, but users like Jack Armstrong feel Clapp Basin road is still the best option. FLNRO didn’t entertain conversations about reopening the road, instead highlighting a breakwater at Rennell Sound as an exemplary, if only option.
Clapp Basin was closed to the public two years ago, forcing may boaters to use Rennell Sound boat launch.
The project is far from being finalized and will not be finished for this upcoming summer. FLNRO welcomes community input on the project. Mr. Ray told the crowd when it comes to a future expansion, “Nothing done here precludes building it out more at a later date.”
Once the design of the breakwater is finalized, the ministry will apply for funding and then put the project out for tender.