Salt Spring Marina upgrades underway

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The Salt Spring Marina replacement project is underway, after more than 13 years of planning.

The old structure was due for replacement 20 years ago, explained project manager John Roland, who began the permitting process in 2005.

“There were literally half a dozen applications that had to go through and everyone had to say yes at the same time. We had a lot of back and forth. It took years to get everyone to agree at the same time,” he said.

Throughout the process, the water lot was extended, which required a rezoning application from the Islands Trust. The Trust approved the plan in 2017 and required the project to get the Green Marine certification and to include the pump-out station.

“We’ve done some things here that are beyond what they ask for, but we’ve done nothing that would upset them as far as getting our certification at the end of the day,” Roland said. “We have a leg up on them because we’ve got some technology here that is beyond what they ask for.”

The new marina will feature upgraded walking platforms, a state-of-the-art breakwater and main float, more moorage space and updated electrical system. A mobile pump-out station is also planned for the meantime, though the marina plans to eventually install plumbing to each berth. The new structure will be undergoing Green Marine certification through the Georgia Strait Alliance. Surfaces will be transparent to allow sunlight to pass through to the seafloor and constant-tension anchoring systems will prevent the bottom from being scoured by the anchor chains.

Dredging will be completed in January and February, followed by installation of the breakwater. After that structure is in place, the main walkway and docks will be installed.

“Our goal is to be open by May 1,” Roland said. “It’s ambitious, but we’re going to do it. We might not be tidied right up, but it’s all doable at this point and it’s all underway.”

The new marina will help bring in more tourism to the island. It will be useable throughout the winter, something that was not possible with the old marina.

“We couldn’t rent it year round before, because of the weather. The old marina was too scary in the winter time. I spent a winter here in my boat, and some weeks you’d wear out a set of lines in a week. It’s always moving. The new marina will calm that down when we build it. There’ll be a lot of space for locals,” said Roland.

Of the 6,000 feet of moorage space, 2,400 of that will be for rent for local boats. The remainder will be used by yacht clubs, weekend boaters and other uses.

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