P.E.I. fisheries minister calls for more federal harbour funding
'There should be an influx of $750 million over 5 years'
P.E.I. Fisheries and Communities minister Jamie Fox is calling on the federal government to increase spending for Island wharfs and harbours.
Fox says major infrastructure investments are needed to support the growing long term needs of the fishing and aquaculture industry and wharfs and harbours fall under federal jurisdiction.
"This has nothing to with an election issue. This has to do with the safety and maintaining of our harbours and wharfs for the future."
Fox said he has heard concerns from across the province and knows that money is being spent, but more is needed.
"I'm suggesting that there should be an influx of $750 million over five years. So, basically we would see a major influx of money from the federal government into DFO for the Atlantic region," Fox said.
Fox cited Malpeque Harbour as one of the harbours in need of financial aid. Fox said a sandbar in the area is moving the channel to the left.
"We either need a new harbour or we need to look at a clear moving of the channel to basically a straight out approach."
Fox said the man sandbar should be taken out and a clearly defined deep water channel created.
"We need to be looking at our harbours and wharfs for the future, especially when we're talking about climate change," he said.
Meeting about the issue
Fox said he has been discussing the issue with some local MPs, senators, the federal minister, and will meet with Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, the parliamentary secretary for DFO, in the near future.
"As a provincial minister we need to be standing up with our fishers and our industry both on the fishery side and the aquaculture side. And we need to be having these discussions with the federal minister to make sure our concerns and our industry's concerns are heard at a much higher level," Fox said.
A review of the small craft harbours program is needed. He said it may need an update to deal with the concerns of today.
"Is it really looking at climate change? Is it really looking at what the needs are for the future to support our industries," Fox said.
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With files from Angela Walker