Ucluelet’s Japanese Dock will receive a new $1 million breakwater this year courtesy of DFO.

Ucluelet scores new breakwater

Mayor St. Jacques sad to see pedestrian access removed from $1 million project.

A new breakwater will be installed at Ucluelet’s outer boat basin in time to protect vessels from winter’s waves but pedestrians won’t be able to access it.

The breakwater will consist of two 48 metre-long catamarans attached at an angle and the project’s roughly $1 million price tag will be paid by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), according to Ucluelet mayor Dianne St. Jacques.

Ucluelet’s municipal council, which also serves at the Ucluelet Harbour Authority, reviewed DFO’s final plans for the breakwater during a recent regular meeting and St. Jacques was disappointed to see a significant change to the initial layout.

She suggested the original idea was for the two catamarans to run in a straight line from the dock and be accessible to pedestrians but a configuration change had axed this access.

“It’s terrific that DFO, Small Craft Harbour, wants to spend $1 million on the breakwater. That’s wonderful and I’m happy to embrace that,” she said.

“It’s just a bit disappointing because their first plan was a little bit different and was easily accessible by pedestrians and we foresaw all kinds of events and fun things…We just have to work a little harder, which we will, to accomplish that.”

In order for the new breakwater to become accessible, an estimated $250,000 walkway would be needed and DFO has declined to cover this cost,

St. Jacques assured the district would investigate all possible funding sources to secure the walkway.

After the meeting, she told the Westerly providing access to the breakwater would create a solid venue for family fun, including casual fishing opportunities and event-hosting possibilities.

“I was really excited about that, obviously because it’s good protection for all those boats that are tied up in the harbour there, but also just for the activity for the community…Unfortunately, due to engineering challenges, they’ve changed the configuration of it,” she said.

“To get the best community use out of it, because you like things to be used as much as possible and to be multipurpose, we need to figure out a way for pedestrians to be able to access the floats.”

DFO expects to have the breakwater installed by the end of summer but there is no timeline in place for the potential walkway.