New floats for small boats

A bubble curtain is activated in Esquimalt Harbour just prior to a marine blast on Sept. 13. The work is being done to make way for a new small boats jetty in Dockyard.

A bubble curtain is activated in Esquimalt Harbour just prior to a marine blast on Sept. 13. The work is being done to make way for a new small boats jetty in Dockyard.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Construction of three small boat jetties located near the southeastern end of Esquimalt Harbour in dockyard is entering its fourth and final phase.

Once completed in 2021, the small boat floats will be the berthing place for the eight Orca-class vessels of the Patrol Craft Training Unit, and tugboats and auxiliary vessels operated by the Queen’s Harbour Master (QHM).

The jetties, ranging in length of 156 to 162 metres, will be built on the shoreline of Constance Cove, with one jetty being near the Hood Building and the other two north of that.

The design-bid-build project is being overseen by Defence Construction Canada (DCC).

“We are excited to see this project approaching its final stages,” said Angie Zemanek, Coordinator, Professional Services Contracts with DCC. “Once completed, it will provide the defence community with modernized and expanded infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the current and future fleet of the small vessels of the Royal Canadian Navy.”

The construction of this fourth phase is being done by Pomerleau Inc .

The jetty project has been in the works since 2005 which coincided with the construction period of the Orca vessels.

Currently, the Orcas are berthed near D Jetty on the Colwood-side of the base.  QHM vessels reside at the current ML floats in the waters adjacent to Transport Road near Fleet Maintenance Facility (FMF) Cape Breton. When the project is complete, they will make a short 500 metre move to the northeast to the new jetties.

Preparation for the project started in 2017 with dredging of the basin, also part of the Harbour Remediation Project.

The second phase was construction of two of three float modules. That work was completed by dock builders Blue Water Systems Inc. of Vancouver. The modules were towed to their temporary storage location at Colwood’s D Jetty by tugboat. The third jetty will consist of modules already constructed and in use by the Orcas at D jetty.

Phase three was completed in 2018 with the installation of abutment structures in Constance Cove that will allow for ramps to the jetties and trestles to the shore. A concrete walkway at the rear of the Hood Building was widened in anticipation of foot traffic to the new floats.

Before the final assembly of the jetty modules, approximately 13,000 cubic metres of submerged rock in the vicinity of Village Rocks must be blasted away. Dynamite is used to achieve the required depth of 7.0 metres Chart Datum. Crews have already completed 14 blasts but have paused due to Department of Oceans and Fisheries environmental regulations. Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1 each year, blasting in the harbour must stop to protect marine life and their seasonal migration patterns.

“Members of the construction project have notified defence team members in the immediate proximity that marine blasting operations will resume on Dec. 1,” said Zemanek.

The final phase will be completed once the floats are assembled and land work such as landscaping, drainage, and paving are concluded.

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