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New small craft facility will provide vast improvements: Wayne Bennett

Sharon and Wayne Bennett of St. George’s are seen inside the cabin of their boat, "Landen Sea,” getting ready to dock at the main wharf in St George’s when the vessel first arrived in the town.
Sharon and Wayne Bennett of St. George’s are seen inside the cabin of their boat,

The news that approval has been given to tear down the main wharf in St. George’s and replace it with a small marina will result in vast improvements, says Wayne Bennett.

The small craft owner of “Landen Sea,” a Cleopatra 33-foot pleasure boat equipped with twin diesel engines, said it will be a big convenience for him and other boat owners in St. George’s.

“When you look at the whole Bay St. George area there are few locations to dock smaller boats other than at Cape St. George and Little Port Harmon in Stephenville, which has become overcrowded,” Bennett said.

He said the inner part of St. George’s Bay has been lacking anything good in the way of accommodating small craft for a long time. He said other than St. George’s there is nowhere to dock at Stephenville Crossing or Flat Bay in that part of the bay.

Bennett said the removal of the current wharf at St. George’s will result in taking away an eyesore, which is located next to a walking trail in the town.

“It also puts back something that’s much nicer, for sure,” he said of the planned marina.

Bennett believes this will bring sea-going vessels into town and the facility will even be good for some fishers who operate out of St. George’s at times, but who do it on a very limited basis because of the dilapidated shape the wharf is in.

“Who knows, maybe down the road the marina might be able to be expanded if it gets enough use,” he said.

He said if there is an interest by a provider the improvements could help out with tours to Sandy Point and with the annual cleanups at that location facilitated by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Mayor Danny Conway said the recent announcement of St. George’s receiving the final approval through the Divestiture Program for replacement of the current wharf has been some time coming.

He said during his first week in office as mayor five years ago he and others started pushing for this project and now it’s coming to fruition.

Conway said it’s a big project for the town, in the millions of dollars, which came about through a lot of work by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Small Craft Harbours division.

Tenders are being called in the near future for the new marina and slipway.

Once the new marina and slipway is complete, the facility will be handed over to the town and operated by a local boat-owners divestiture committee.

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