Eganville – Work is progressing on plans for a fishing dock on the south side of the Bonnechere River with hopes for launching it this year.
Dave Kruger and Brian Weckwerth from the Eganville and Area Community Development Group (EACDG) were at a committee meeting of Bonnechere Valley council last Tuesday, sounding very optimistic about the fishing dock and looking for final approvals for the project which has been in the works for several years.
“We’ve gone from a stationary dock to a floating dock that is removable each year,” Mr. Kruger said.
There are similar docks in Eganville which work well on the Bonnechere River, he said.
“We looked at Combermere at their docks and also Sault. St. Marie,” he said.
The detailed drawings which were forwarded to council were to be passed on to the township engineers for approval as one of the final steps, he said.
Mr. Weckwerth said the dock will be easy to manoeuver.
“With the floating dock the floaters have wheels on them,” he said.
The dock will also be able to hold up to 5,900 pounds, he said. The only approval needed was from the township engineers and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). Councillor Jack Roesner said he would approach the MNRF with the design for the floating fishing dock.
“Is there a way to make the dock permanent?” Councillor Brent Patrick asked.
He said this might be easier than hauling it out each year but would not mean it would be stationary but rather floating with the river height.
Mr. Kruger said there are connector links which will allow the dock to move up and down as the river water level changes. The ramp has bracing, he said.
Mr. Weckwerth said he has been involved in putting in and removing a similar dock and it is quite simple.
“It takes seven to 10 minutes to take the dock out,” he said.
The dock will be on the property owned by Rob and Cindy Dagenais who have allowed public access there and they have also given permission for the dock to be stored there, he said.
“The dock will last longer out of the water,” Mr. Weckwerth said.
As well, he promised to be involved in removing the dock each year.
“As long as we are around, we would be able to help,” he said.
Coun. Patrick said he was curious how long it would take staff to do it and allowing for that as part of staff responsibilities.
“Some docks are easy to work with and some aren’t,” he said.
Mr. Kruger pointed out this dock could be modified if needed with more flotation devices to make it adjustable for a great weight capacity.
“The engineers will tell us if we limit it to eight people or 10 people and we would put signage up for that,” he said.
Councillor Tim Schison said he was glad to hear there was going to be signage about weight capacity limits.
“You could probably have quite a few people standing on the surface of the dock,” he said.
Mayor Jennifer Murphy thanked the men for their work on this project.
“Now it is time to get a sign off on it (from the engineers and the MNRF) and see what they have to say,” she said.
Mr. Weckwerth asked if materials could be purchased through the township which would help with HST costs since the township can recoup most of that. Council agreed since this was past practice with the EACDG that could happen.
Mr. Weckwerth said the money is in place for the project.
“We currently have $27,000 plus in the bank for this project, plus we have the Rotary Club behind us,” he said, adding there would be no concern about the group not paying for the materials.
Fundraising has occurred for the project including a recent golf tournament and there was also money left from the now defunct boardwalk project which is being used for this. (Donors for that project had the option of leaving the money for other projects.)
“We want to spend the money and get this thing going,” Mr. Weckwerth said.
In speaking with the Leader later, he said there are hopes to build the fishing dock this year and have it in place.
“Building the dock is a two-day process if we get the material,” he said.
Right now, the group is just waiting for the approval from the township engineers and the MNRF, he added.
The dock will also be wheelchair accessible, he said. It will be tested to ensure it is easy for anyone in a wheelchair to use, he added.
Last year the two men were at council asking for their approval of a new location for the fishing dock as part of the ongoing process. The new location is about 200 metres up river from the Home Hardware. The previous location was further up the river on the same side and piers had already been put in the water for the fishing dock to go there.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader