Rainbow Wharf closed to industry, pending repairs

It’s still good for watching sunsets, but for now Port Clements really is without a working wharf.

Village councillors voted unanimously last week to cancel an agreement with the only companies still using Rainbow Wharf to move significant loads: O’Brien Road & Bridge Maintenance, and O’Brien & Fuerst Logging.

Until it gets repaired, the ageing wharf is closed to any vehicles heavier than 3,500 kg.

That has been the posted limit on Rainbow Wharf since a 2015 engineering survey found several of its pilings aren’t actually bearing weight anymore, while others have damage from shipworms.

But two years ago, village councillors agreed to waive liability for the O’Brien companies, who in turn agreed not to sue the village should any of its vehicles punch through.

At their Dec. 3 meeting, Port councillors decided the village could no longer take that risk.

“We gathered more information, and I think the information’s been fairly clear-cut,” said Mayor Doug Daugert. “I think we have to stop over-stressing it until we get repairs done.”

“After that, we’ll see what engineers say, and what our insurance company says.”

Also on Monday, councillors officially sole-sourced a contract of up to $20,000 with Coast Isle Engineering to draw up detailed repair options for the wharf.

The Prince Rupert company will base its work on the 2015 engineering report, which found the wharf would need about $330,000 in repairs just to reach a weight-bearing standard of 8,000 kg.

Councillors have yet to decide whether the village will repair the wharf to an industrial standard, or maintain it only for foot traffic and light vehicles.

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