Pacific Industrial & Marine‘s work crew left Squirrel Cove yesterday morning. Both the crane barge and a barge with the old wooden pilings were towed to Campbell River. Someone purchased the old west float, which will end its days as a breakwater. The next phase of Squirrel Cove’s dock restoration has begun.
The Restoration Project
The entire restoration project grew out of a condition report commissioned by Small Craft Harbours. There were a number of deficiencies in the pilings. During a high winter tide three or four years ago, the east float rose up until it almost hung on the top of the pilings.
“The people they sent to check the floats did not see this because they were not here during the winter high tides. We asked them to weld a five foot extension to the tops of the pilings,” explained Harbour Authority Cortes Island Director Andy Ellingsen, who will be overseeing the contractors while Harbour Manager Jenny Hartwick is in Africa.
In addition, “Small Craft Harbours were interested in us undertaking some of the small projects that were involved, and by the time we were through, the small projects became larger projects. We have undertaken to replace all the decking on the main dock. The material is being supplied by Small Craft Harbour and they gave us the contract to replace the whole deck.”
HACI’s wharfinger, Don Tennent, explained “A fellow named Jeremy Hope is doing the cross bracing underneath, and then we’re going to be tackling the very end of the wharfhead where the winch is. There are some enormous timbers there. So all of the bunk rails around the end have to be pulled. We are going to get Matt Cuscianna to come here with his mini-excavator and pop the old boards off. Then we are going to be placing new ones down. It is going to take a lot of co-ordination between myself, and Jeremy with the barge, because some of the fastenings for the winch and the cleats are right through the blocking underneath. We need a skiff or barge so you can access those bolts.”
He added, “once we start working on the wharfhead, it has to be done in one go.”
As for the floats, Tennent said, “The new [west] float has been put in place, pilings have been driven. We’re going to start nailing down the decking and get the electrical cabinet back there … there is a slider there that allows the gangway to move back and forth with the tide. Once we get our materials in place, there is 80 feet of decking on the east float that needs to be replaced.”
Anecdotes About Stage One
Tennent and Ellingsen had some anecdotes about the first stage of this project.
Pacific informed Ellingsen, “the top end of one piling looked fine, but where the piling was just above the ground there was a pocket that you could have hidden a watermelon in. That does not have the structural strength that you need.”
“On the west float, there was an existing piling well built into the replacement. When Pacific went to drive in the replacement, there was an enormous boulder directly underneath where that piling was going to go in. So they had to move the piling well up the float and then drive it in there instead,” said Tennent.
He added, “The [old] west float was untenable. It was slippery; very dangerous. I’ve taken a header just stepping off the gangway onto the float, because it is just slimy … When we pulled the old electrical cabinet up, the stringers were rotten.”
When Will Everything Be Finished?
Tennent says, “it will be nice if the restoration is done by the end of March,” but a lot depends on the material delivery and being able to co-ordinate everyone.
Top photo credit: Don Tennent framing the new well head on the west float – Roy L Hales photo