Nova Scotia

Glace Bay harbour to enter final dredging stage

The work to deepen Glace Bay harbour is almost finished, with the final stage of the work set to start in November.

Last of the work to deepen the harbour will start in November

Fishermen leaving the area of Glace Bay harbour that will soon be completely dredged. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

The work to deepen Glace Bay harbour is almost finished, with the final stage of the work set to start in November.

A buildup of sludge on the harbour bottom has been a problem for years and has resulted in some vessels getting stuck. A small dredge was done last year to deepen both the outer channel and the area around three fish plants.

"This year we're going back to do the full deal. We're doing the the outer channel, along the fish plants again, as well as the entire inner basin," said Brenda Alexander, the area manager for Small Craft Harbours with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

That work should be completed by April.

"The remainder, basically, is to tidy up what may still may be remaining along the fish plants," said Alexander.

"We're going to have the soundings done on the outer channel as well as the inner basin here, which probably hasn't been dredged in 20 years or more. That's going to make sure that all the smaller fishing boats are able to come and go as they please."

Herb Nash, the chair of the Glace Bay Harbour Authority, said finishing the dredge work is critical because large vessels could take their business elsewhere if there's a chance of getting stuck trying to reach the wharf.

Nash said most people don't realize how important the fishing industry is to Glace Bay's economy.

"Might not be recognized but when you look at the amount of money that comes in through fishing with the boats and the fishermen added, it's the biggest employer in Glace Bay right now," he said.

Nash estimates about 400 people make their living in the local fishing industry.

He said cargoes of ocean perch and other fish represent millions of dollars for the economy, all of which depend on the completion of the dredge.