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Town still trying to gain rights for harbourby Lisa Brown
MAHONE BAY - A change in management in a provincial government department appears to have "opened up" the chances of Mahone Bay gaining rights to its harbour.
Deputy Mayor Dave Devenne stopped short of naming names at a July 12 town council meeting, but said discussions with the Department of Natural Resources look to be on an upswing since some recent personnel changes.
"It's amazing how much the whole opportunity has opened up," the deputy mayor said.
In 2008, Mahone Bay asked Natural Resources to turn over rights to the harbour. It's the first step in a larger plan to preserve and develop the harbour and waterfront.
However, despite several requests since then, Deputy Mayor Devenne said there was "a lot of dancing around with DNR staff," but no one ever agreed to meet with the town to discuss the idea.
Then recently, he said, he was contacted by a staff member from Natural Resources, asking if the town was still interested in pursuing it.
Council passed a motion July 12 to explore with Natural Resources the establishment of a harbour management authority.
The area proposed runs from the most seaward point of Inchcape, east and west, then north to the head of Keddy's River.
At the same meeting, council approved in principle a long-range plan for harbour development.
Councillor David Hennigar, chairman of the harbour development committee, said the plan is the culmination of three years' work by the committee, first formed in 2008.
The committee has devised three key objectives - to develop a management plan for public waterfront property to encourage economic development and improve employment opportunities, to enhance public waterfront property to increase and improve recreational opportunities, and to give the town or its appointee management control of the harbour.
Key strategies include a walkway and possible wharf between the Irving and the gazebo, a dinghy dock and look-off and a boardwalk.
The committee also hopes to grid and enlarge the mooring field, dredge the harbour and breakwater, acquire and develop property north of the wharf and expand marina functionality, including a possible sailing or yacht club.
posted on 07/19/11
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