Porritt Landing to get facelift

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
James Darby, the recreation director with the Town of Hay River, stands at Porritt Landing, which is about to undergo an extensive facelift.

A major revitalization is about to begin at Porritt Landing.

James Darby, the recreation director with the town, updated town council on the project at its June 26 meeting.

“The project is about to start quite quickly,” he told councillors. “So you’re probably going to see some work starting as early as July.”

The project has a budget of $202,000 – half from the town itself and the other half from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

“The aim is to create an area with a marina with a day-use area utilizing the excellent recreational facility we have down there,” said Darby, adding it could also possibly generate some income for the town.

The recreation director offered an overview of the work plan.

One of the big changes will be to the docking system, which currently features a plastic floating dock.

The plan is to install finger docking stations similar to a section of Fisherman’s Wharf.

“So you’ll probably see more boats there,” said Darby. “And that could possibly be some of our income-generation opportunity.”

The existing floating dock will be moved to the far side, which will be developed into a day-use area.

There will also be work to improve the cement boat launch area, which has suffered some significant damage over time.

“The concrete is broken away and we’ve got some wires protruding from some areas,” Darby explained. “So we need to do a bit of work ensuring that becomes safe for those people that are putting some expensive boats into that water.”

Right now, he noted there is also a big drop-off from the concrete.

Plus, Darby has seen people back up vehicles nearly into the water to try to get down as far as possible so they don’t damage a boat.

“There is work to extend it sideways so people don’t drop off the side of it, but also to extend it further into the water with a concrete slab,” he said.

Other possible changes include repairs to the retaining walls, more control over how vehicles enter and exit, improvements to the parking area, new signage, and the addition of an open-sided shelter with chairs, tables and barbecues.

There will also be some dredging.

“There needs to be some work done on dredging because at times it can become quite shallow in there,” said Darby.

Judy Goucher, the senior administrative officer with the town, noted discussions will be required with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the territorial Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the proper time of year to do dredging.

“So that work is actually planned, I think, for January or February of next year,” she said, adding the dredging will be done by a backhoe on the shore.

Councillors welcomed the proposed changes to Porritt Landing.

“It’s very exciting to see the work plan and to see us putting some money and some effort into that area,” said Deputy Mayor Donna Lee Jungkind. “I think it’s an area that’s been neglected for a little while. So there’s lots of potential.”

Coun. Keith Dohey also liked the proposed improvements.

“I think it’s long overdue that we do something with that area,” he said.

In comments to The Hub later last week, Darby said he is preparing a work schedule to see how much can be done this year and how much can be done with $202,000.

“The amount of work that we will complete this year will depend on the budget,” he said. “So we might have to scale down certain areas.”

In order for the money to do as much as possible, the maintenance team with the town’s recreation department will be used, along with contractors.

“Clearly that will drive down costs,” said Darby.

The required dredging is included in the $202,000 budget.

Less than half of all the work might get done this year.

“I think we could get 40 per cent of the work done before the winter comes,” said Darby. “I don’t think we could get this whole project done.”