By Cathy Ferris
Sheet Harbour will soon be a more attractive stop for recreational boaters with the installation of six new moorings this spring. There will be no mooring fees, and local boaters will have short-term access. Four private wharves will allow landings of boat tenders.
The mooring saga began back in 2012, with the creation of the Marina Committee of the Sheet Harbour and Area Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the committee was to begin another phase of the Sheet Harbour Waterfront Development Report prepared by Ekistics Planning. (The first phase was the streetscape.) The committee has been looking for a suitable marina site since then, and is pursuing one now.
But while the search for a marina site was going on, DNR’s Waterfront Development suggested in 2015 that the Committee should install moorings to encourage boats to moor in the Harbour and discover the surrounding beauty and amenities of the area. This suggestion was timely, with the Strategic Tourism Expansion Program (STEP) beginning to encourage tourism on the Eastern Shore, and the Nature Trust’s initiative to acquire the 100 Wild Islands in full swing.
The Chamber submitted an application to the Department of Natural Resources in January 2016 to install 6 moorings in Sheet Harbour for transient boaters. As these moorings needed to be licensed, a Public Consultation was conducted at the Sheet Harbour Lions Community Centre on May 4th. All were in favor. Upland owners gave their permission to install moorings. In January 2017, the Marina Committee received the licenses.
The Sheet Harbour Chamber was successful in securing an HRM Community Grant under $5000 to help defray costs, and Nova Scotia Biomass donated 12 steel rings for anchoring. The Committee plans to have the moorings installed in the early spring.
There will be plenty of promotion, starting with two signs at the wharves showing a map of the area and a listing of tourist attractions, local shops, and services. (An accompanying brochure is planned for the near future.) Waterfront Development and marinas from Halifax to Cape Breton will be contacted to advise of the moorings. And the moorings will be advertised on the Marina website (under construction) and on the Sheet Harbour Chamber’s and Marina’s Facebook pages. Word-of-mouth has already created much interest!
(Cathy Ferris is the Marina Committee Chairperson of the Sheet Harbour and Area Chamber of Commerce.)