Summerside port wants to dispose of dredged material at sea

The Summerside Port Corporation wants to dredge some areas of its channel and dispose of that material at sea.

'We want to ensure that route remains open'

Five areas need to be dredged, says Summerside port CEO Arnold Croken. Dredging equipment goes to work in Covehead in this file photo. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The port of Summerside, P.E.I., wants to dredge some areas of its channel and dispose of that material at sea, to maintain the channel's depth.

The port is applying to Environment and Climate Change Canada for a disposal-at-sea permit, with one of three approved dumping sites in mind.

"Ships will not come into this port if they get nervous of touching bottom, and you can understand that," said Summerside Port Corporation CEO Arnold Croken.

'Restrict the width of our channel'

Five areas in the channel have a buildup of material, Croken said, and about 45,000 cubic metres of dredged material would need to be disposed of — that's about 4,500 dump trucks full. 

'Ships will not come into this port if they get nervous of touching bottom,' says port CEO Arnold Croken. (CBC)

"Those five spots are what we're cleaning back down. Those are the ones that restrict the width of our channel coming in and it does pose a challenge. 

"We're handling a lot of commercial cargo here in Summerside now. We're getting busier and busier and we want to ensure that route remains open for that traffic to come in."

Project would start in October

The port currently has six-and-a-half metres of depth at low tide and doesn't want to lose that.

It proposes loading activities would begin Oct. 15 and end on Dec. 31. Fishermen have asked for the work to happen as late in the year as possible to avoid disrupting their work.

The port will meet with a commercial and recreational fishing group and the oyster fishing association in the next couple of weeks, Croken said.

The notice sent out by the port states the public can raise environmental concerns by contacting the nearest disposal at sea program office, which is in Dartmouth, N.S.

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With files from Laura Chapin