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

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

The pontoon was once part of the floating bridge across Hood Canal in Washington State

Part of a former floating bridge across the Puget Sound could end up taking the place of Sidney’s Beacon Wharf with any final decision still a long way off.

The municipal committee charged with reviewing options for the future of Sidney’s iconic Beacon Wharf heard a proposal late last year from Sidney-based Seagate Pontoons to replace the aging structure with a piece once part of the bridge across Washington State’s Hood Canal.

The wharf is approaching the end of its life – within less than 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 with several factors shaping any future choice.

They include 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, even public self-image.

Enter Seagate Pontoons. It owns the last remaining pontoon (the so-called N-Pontoon) of the concrete floating pontoon bridge’s eastern half. Seagate purchased the entire half (consisting out 12 total pontoons) from Washington State after officials decided to replace it between 2003 and 2010 while refurbishing the primary connector between the Olympic Peninsula and Interstate 5.

The sections purchased by Seagate Pontoons added up to nearly one kilometre and have since found buyers across the world, including Canada (Sewell’s Marina at Horseshoe Bay, Port Alberni), the United States (Alaska) and Australia, where they have served various recreational and commercial purposes.

RELATED: Shortlisted options for Beacon Wharf replacement cost between $6.3 and $14.2 million

Mike Cronquist, vice-president of business development for the company, itself part of Marker Group – the company that owns the Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa among other local waterfront developments – told Beacon Wharf Select Committee members during a November 2020 presentation that the remaining piece (currently located in Pitt Meadows) offers several advantages, starting with its ability to rise and fall with the sea.

“It’s really one of the benefits of a floating structure,” he said, adding later that this aspect would allow Sidney respond to rising sea levels expected by climate change. The pontoon could also serve as a breakwater.

It also promises to be less harmful on the environment (by recycling existing marine infrastructure) and preserve ocean views, he said. Finally, it opens opportunities for public-private partnerships that could see Sidney become a port of call for pocket cruise ships among other kinds of vessels, he said.

Cronquist’s presentation revealed the potential of the pontoon to change the look of Sidney’s waterfront. Whereas the current Beacon Wharf runs 124 feet long from the most western corner to the most eastern corner, the pontoon would run 266 feet long with a width of 102 feet if used as a full deck. (Portions of the pontoon are underway and the above-water portions would have to be merged). “It would be a substantial and useful addition to the waterfront,” he said.

Coun. Peter Wainwright, who sits on the committee along with Coun. Chad Rintoul and Coun. Sara Duncan, said he found the presentation interesting for a number of reasons, including but not exclusively the financial aspect after Cronquist pegged the sales price for the piece at $795,000 with other related costs not yet factored into the final equation.

“The cheapest option is to get rid of the wharf,” said Wainwright. “That’s a pre-requisite for all the other options. But the cheapest option that leaves us with a wharf is going to be that floating option.” While final financial estimates will not be available for some time, earlier available estimates offered a wide range of figures, with the lowest cost being $6.3 million.

Cronquist’s presentation did not lead to any specific recommendations from the committee, now planing to rank the available options in the coming two months by two criteria (view and environmental concerns) before asking the public for feedback likely in the spring of 2021.

Wainwright said more information is needed, while also noting that Cronquist’s presentation did not raise any obvious concerns.

“We are still very early in the process of evaluating things, but there are no red flags that remove any of the options from the table,” he said.


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

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

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Dallas Road

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Officials say there’s not enough Vancouver Island eggs to meet demand

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling, supply needed from off-Island

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter might not be done with Vancouver Island quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend for mid-Island

New population estimates peg the population of Greater Victoria at 408,883 as of July 1, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Population estimates peg Greater Victoria’s population at 408,883

New estimates show regional population grew by 1.35 per cent

The Salvation Army’s 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign includes a new $5 tap feature for pandemic-friendly donations. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
EDITORIAL: Alberni Valley steps up in time of need

There are a lot of ways the outside world interprets Port Alberni…

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Nanaimo mall, RCMP investigating

Police have searched areas of Woodgrove Centre accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Firefighters respond to a fire on Heatherly Road in Colwood Jan. 19. (Photo courtesy of View Royal Fire Rescue)
Two people escape injury in Colwood house fire

Heatherly Road fire started on a covered porch

In January, six flights with cases of COVID-19 onboard have landed at the Victoria International Airport so far. (Black Press Media file photo)
Two new COVID-19 exposures reported on flights to Victoria

A Jan. 10 flight from Toronto and Jan. 11 flight from Calgary were affected

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

(News Bulletin file photo)
Car crashes along the Nanaimo Parkway, driver abandons vehicle

Mazda with ‘extensive damage’ found in the ditch in the early-morning hours Jan. 19

Most Read