Brock Township hopes to work with the federal government to salvage the swimming platforms at the Beaverton Harbour.
After the platforms were closed last summer due to safety concerns, council passed a motion at Monday’s (Jan. 21) meeting of the protection services committee directing staff to use $30,000 that was budgeted last year to try to repair the structures.
While money for the project was set aside, it looks as though Township staff presented removal of the platforms as a possibility in negotiations with their counterparts at the federal government.
An email from Ben Palmer, a program development officer of Small Craft Harbours with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, asked whether the Township was amenable to the platforms being removed this winter.
Instead, Ward 1 Councillor Mike Jubb brought forward a motion calling for the repairs to be completed and said the platforms offer an alternative option for swimmers when the beach is posted.
Removing them would be a “very contentious” issue with the public, he added.
“Our heads would be on chopping blocks,” he said.
“I don’t want to see us lose these platforms,” added Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden.
“We have money in the budget – let’s see if $30,000 is enough.”
Works Director Nick Colucci cautioned that federal officials didn’t seem particularly enamoured with the concept of repairing the platforms during discussions about the possible divestiture of the harbour.
“Without the co-operation of Small Craft Harbours, it would be extremely difficult to complete these repairs,” he told members of council.
CAO/Clerk Thom Gettinby noted the platforms could be viewed as a liability by the federal government.
“Even though we manage the facility, they own it,” he said.
Despite those concerns, Coun. Jubb’s motion passed by a 5-2 margin.
“Removing these would be a poor decision,” said Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble.
Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer and Regional Councillor Ted Smith provided the votes in opposition.
“They don’t want these platforms,” Coun. Schummer said of the federal government.
Coun. Smith said he had a hard time committing municipal funding to a federal property.