Stephanie Wilson and Colin Bancks are frequent visitors to Sidney’s waterfront, its most iconic symbol being Beacon Wharf. It could make way for a concrete pontoon once part of the floating bridge over Hood Canal in Washington State. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Stephanie Wilson and Colin Bancks are frequent visitors to Sidney’s waterfront, its most iconic symbol being Beacon Wharf. It could make way for a concrete pontoon once part of the floating bridge over Hood Canal in Washington State. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney explores public-private partnership for iconic Beacon Wharf

Wharf committee recommends town invite pontoon company to submit proposal

The private company pitching to sell Sidney the last piece of an old floating bridge as a potential replacement for Beacon Wharf could end up with a direct stake in the project.

The committee overseeing the future of the Sidney wharf is recommending the municipality invite Seagate Pontoons to submit a formal proposal for a potential public-private partnership to replace the iconic but aging wharf following the committee’s last meeting on Jan. 6.

Members of the Beacon Wharf Select Committee unanimously agreed to the recommendation that emerged out of a subcommittee tasked with investigating potential public-private partnerships around the pending replacement. Members of that sub-committee include Sidney’s chief administrative officer Randy Humble, who told committee members that the company would come forward with a proposal following some “very, very preliminary” discussions.

The wharf is approaching the end of its life – within 10 years – and four broad options have emerged for its future: replacement with a rock base; replacement with a piled structure; replacement with a floating structure; and no replacement at all. Several factors including replacement costs, environmental concerns including rising sea levels, the future of businesses operating on the wharf and the wharf’s place in Sidney’s viewscape, are to shape any future choice.

Seagate Pontoons owns the last remaining pontoon (the so-called N-Pontoon) of the eastern half of the concrete floating pontoon bridge running across Washington state’s Hood Canal.

The public heard from staff late last year that an inspection by Sidney’s consultant SNC-Lavelin found “no show-stoppers” in using the pontoon as a replacement for the wharf, a point that also extends to potential environmental impacts. The public heard that the pontoon could be accessible for smaller boats and accommodate a building for commercial purposes as is the case now on the existing wharf.

A report circulated among committee members pegs the potential maximum cost for a floating structure at $6.5 million. By comparison, a piled structure could cost $10 million. It would cost about $2 million to remove the wharf at the end of its useful life, followed by enhancements to the waterfront.

RELATED: Used concrete pontoon from the United States could replace Sidney’s Beacon Wharf

Coun. Sara Duncan captured this economic consideration in her comments. “Knowing that Seagate Pontoons is kind of the cheapest option that we have evaluated (and can accommodate commercial buildings)…how much do we want to keep evaluating what might be even more expensive options when the cheapest option was viable and got us what we needed?”

Several committee members including Humble and Coun. Peter Wainwright stressed that the municipality is under no obligation to enter any partnership with Seagate Pontoons once it presents its proposal. Alison Verhagen, senior manager of long-range planning, said receiving a proposal from the company now would help the municipality assess its options later. This said, the public also heard from Humble that Sidney would “have to give up something to attract a 3P component and it has to make financial sense to them as well.”

Several days after the committee meeting, the public heard during Monday’s council meeting that public engagement around the future of Beacon Wharf is still months away.

“We are thinking that the public engagement is probably not going to happen until March at the earliest, maybe April, May,” said Wainwright. “We still have quite a bit of work to do until the information package can go out.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Sidney’s Beacon Wharf, here decked out in American flags during shooting for the Netflix series Maid last November, could make way for a concrete pontoon that was once part of the floating bridge over Hood Canal in Washington state. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney’s Beacon Wharf, here decked out in American flags during shooting for the Netflix series Maid last November, could make way for a concrete pontoon that was once part of the floating bridge over Hood Canal in Washington state. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Just Posted

Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Richard Pearce is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Unsung Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Navy veteran helping others cope with post-traumatic stress disorder

Rich Pearce is the West Shore 2021 Unsung Hero

File
The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read