With an increasing number of boats mooring in the waters off Port Sydney beach, the Town of Huntsville is considering ways to manage the volume.
The matter was brought before Huntsville’s General Committee on July 28 by Councillor Jason FitzGerald.
“Things seem to be getting a little bit out of control,” said FitzGerald. In addition to the number of boats, concerns he’s heard from constituents and visitors to the beach include safety, possible effect on water quality, and restricted access to shore. “It seems there’ve been some incidents where boats have come loose, boats are sometimes infringing on the swimming areas which I believe we need to make a little bit larger.”
In discussion with the Town’s director of operations and protective services, Steve Hernen, FitzGerald said they’d determined the Town should consider removing all of the existing anchors “because some of them are inappropriate to be in the water, some are dangerous, and some are simply just not adequate to do the job they’re trying to do.”
He suggested there be 25 to 30 mooring spots provided by the Town with proper, safe anchors. “I don’t know how we allot those spots to users, whether it’s a lottery, it’s a request, do we ask them to cover the cost of the anchors, do we have a yearly fee associated with it? I know it’s just a situation we need to address because it’s just exacerbating safety at the beach.”
Boats are moored to both sides of Port Sydney beach
In response to a question from Councillor Tim Withey, FitzGerald said he isn’t aware of any boats moored there for the purpose of access to a water-access-only property. “In that instance, I believe that we definitely allot spaces to those people who do have that requirement, rather than just to the general public,” he said, adding that he believes there is a marina that provides that service.
Councillor Bob Stone said the idea to limit the number of boats makes a lot of sense. “There’s boats moored right next to the swimming area and I think it does become dangerous. If we could get them to the other side, that would be wonderful.”
Stone added that he would like to see a cost-recovery method, such as monthly or annual rental fees, if the Town decides to put in slips.
FitzGerald added that docking may be among the proposed solutions, but “the Town doesn’t necessarily want to be in that business, so it would be a partnership similar to Avery Beach and the docks by the Summit Centre where a private partner initiates the cost of the docking and shares a percentage [of rental fees]with the Town.”
Staff have been directed to report back to committee with possible solutions for the 2022 boating season.
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