Porritt Landing project well underway

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
James Darby, the recreation director with the Town of Hay River, stands amid concrete slabs awaiting installation to improve the boat launch at Porritt Landing.

Work is well underway to revitalize Porritt Landing.

But one of the major improvements – repairs to the boat launch – will be put to one side until the fall.

“We’ve just received the concrete slabs that are going to go in for the boat launch,” said Jim Darby, director of recreation and community services with the Town of Hay River, speaking on Aug. 24. “We’re going to try to do that in October so we don’t get in the way of the boaters at the moment, because we’re still in the summer. So we want to try to utilize this good weather as well as we can.”

The current launch area has suffered some significant damage over time, including broken concrete, protruding wires and a big drop-off.

So far, the revitalization project, which began in July, has seen the beginning of changes to the docking system.

Darby said the plan was to install finger docks on the side of Porritt Landing closest to the Mackenzie Highway.

“There’s some plan to look at moving it on the other side against the bank closer to the NTCL building for a number of reasons,” he said. “One for the security of the boats that will be staying there overnight, but also it’s a better entrance into that area. And I think it would set the right image for the new dock.”

No final decision has yet been made.

A request for quotations for a wooden floating docking system has been issued by the Town of Hay River. The closing date is Sept. 1.

As soon as a decision on where the dock is going to go, it will be built this summer, Darby noted.

The plan is to take the finger docks out of the water in the winter.

“There’s actually going to be six fingers,” said Darby. “So we will effectively be able to get 10 to 12 boats in there.”

By moving the finger docks to the far side, it will make more room for day-use boaters on the dock closer to the parking area.

So far, the plastic floating dock that had been down the middle of the docking area has been moved to the far side. However, the idea is to move it the side closest to the highway and roughly double its length.

Other changes already completed include repairs to the retaining walls and improvements to the parking area.

Still to come in the project are also new signage and the addition of an open-sided shelter with chairs, tables and barbecues.

Darby expects the construction will be complete this year.

There will also be some dredging using a backhoe from the shore in January or February of next year.

The funding for the project has to be spent by March 31 of next year. Half of the $202,000 came from the town itself and the other half from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.