Thunder Bay

Silver Islet expands harbour with $30K from Thunder Bay's economic development fund

The harbour at Silver Islet has been expanded with help from the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission.

30K used to install more floating dock sections for use by charter operators

L-R Paul Pepe, manager of Tourism Thunder Bay, presents a cheque for $30,000 to Scott Cheadle and Tom Eaton of the Silver Islet Harbour Association. The money was used to install new floating dock sections at the Silver Islet harbour. (Tourism Thunder Bay/Supplied)

The harbour at Silver Islet has been expanded with help from the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC).

The CEDC granted the Silver Islet Harbour Association $30,000, which has been used to install new floating dock sections to increase mooring capacity in the community, located about 90 kilometres from Thunder Bay on the Sibley Peninsula.

"it's a dock primarily established for the use of some of the resident charter operators, who ferry passengers out to the lighthouses run by Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior, and fishing charters," said Scott Cheadle, harbour association president.

Cheadle said the upgrade was "essential" for Silver Islet.

"We had a harbour that was revitalized by the federal government in 2020, and the harbour association took over last summer," he said. "It was left up to us to build a marina within the confines of that harbour."

"We needed to put in all sorts of finger docks and shore docks to to flush out the capacity of the harbour," Cheadle said. "The reason that's important is since taking over the harbour, the harbour association is responsible for all the ongoing operating expenses of the facility."

"We need to have mooring that provides a sustainable revenue stream."

John Cameron, tourism development officer with Tourism Thunder Bay — which falls under the CEDC — noted that while Silver Islet falls outside of city limits, it has "significant tourism value" for Thunder Bay.

"if people are going out to Silver Island, they're more than likely to have stayed in Thunder Bay, or are going to stay in Thunder Bay," Cameron said. "And further to that, it also enhances Thunder Bay as a cruise ship destination."

"Now that the Viking cruise ship is is mooring off of Silver Islet for one day and with the cruise ship stops, the docking system just allows for the regular tour operators to have docking access while that cruise ship is in."

Built in 1871, the Silver Islet General Store has long been a tourism destination. The new money will allow more visitors from boats to check it out. (Silver Islet General Store Facebook page)

Jeff Korkola, owner of the Silver Islet General Store, praised the volunteer-run harbour association for its work on the harbour.

"The work that the harbour association is doing is very, very good for the community, and for the store," he said.

Korkola said he receives calls from boaters asking about the capacity in the harbour, and how many visitors can be accommodated there.

"it's all been very positive," he said. "The community has been behind it and, i's been a good thing."