GUYSBOROUGH – Recreational boaters will soon have more reasons to spend time in Country Harbour with a new marina slated to be built next to Salsman Provincial Park. At the May 20 regular council meeting of the District of Guysborough, council voted unanimously to provide $350,000 from the municipality’s Gas Tax Fund and another $150,000 in in-kind contributions to make the marina a reality. MODG will construct, own and maintain the marina.
The facility is something local residents have been pushing for over the past five or six years, with efforts ramping up over the past three years. According to local councillor Rickey McLaren, design and engineering plans for the project were previously completed. The funding piece proved more elusive – until the municipality stepped up with core funding and a commitment to maintain the facility. Day-to-day management of the marina will be handled by a local committee of volunteers.
“It’s really needed,” says McLaren. “We have a beautiful harbour over here and we have lots people coming here in the summertime. Our population pretty much doubles on Thursdays and Fridays.”
But many of those visitors have been hauling boats back and forth, he adds. There is a boat ramp at the provincial park, but McLaren says it isn’t really suitable at low tide and there is very little room for vehicles. He expects that ramp will be removed once a new one is in place at the marina.
“The municipality has stepped up and it’s a great thing for our community…Everybody is very excited about it.”
Local resident Robert Walsh has been part of the volunteer effort to build a marina for the past five years. “It was something that was needed in the era,” he told The Journal Monday. “It will support the park and the park will support it. Boats were often laying on the beach and that’s not a good spot for a boat.” Walsh predicts the marina will have a “big time” impact on local tourism.
Warden Vernon Pitts told The Journal council made the decision in principle to invest in the marina during its strategic planning process in January.
“Ever since Sable Gas came ashore, we were looking for a good project in the Country Harbour area,” he says. Although MODG has invested in other projects, such as the new community centre, this new project “is a perfectly good fit with our tourism strategy,” says Pitts. “I want to commend the committee over there for their tireless work on this over the years.”
MODG’s CAO Barry Carroll told The Journal the municipality hopes to begin construction this fall and complete the project in 2021. In the meantime, MODG will undertake regulatory work and permitting, as well as securing a lease for the Crown land.