Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Comment period for Wainwright Barge project nears end

More development plans for the Industrial park waterfront area
(Wainwright work map from submission to Transport Canada process)

Less than a month remains for the public comment portion of a proposed addition to the Wainwright Marine Services yard, with the local marine operator looking to add a new barge facility to its property in the Prince Rupert industrial site.

In documentation provided to Transport Canada's Common Project Registry, the scope of the work and impact to the region is outlined as part of the call for comments from those that may feel impacted by the development. 

The Project is located on the western shore of Fern Passage, adjacent to Wainwright Marine Services shipping yard with the company looking to install a roll on roll off ramp and four to six barge mooring piles to enhance access to their yard, approve efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts of their operations.

The Fern Passage site borders the eastern side of Kaien Island and provides access to several commercial and industrial facilities at Seal Cove and the Prince Rupert Industrial Park. Approximately 2 km south of the Project site Butze Rapids, a tidal rapid, limits access to the southern portion of Fern Passage for most vessels. 
As for the barge ramp project it includes the installation of a purpose-built roll on/roll off barge access ramp at the Wainwright Marine Services shipping yard in the Industrial Park of Prince Rupert. 

The ramp will be approximately 34 m long and will facilitate the operation of heavy equipment from shore to barge to allow for shipping and receiving services. The shore end of the ramp will be connected to a hinge system mounted on a permanent concrete abutment to accommodate fluctuating tide levels. 

The water end of the ramp will be supported by an adjustable floatation system to allow for barges of different heights. The project will also involve the installation of four to six, 30 to 36-inch diameter steel pilings next to an existing stiff leg dock located at the end of the proposed ramp. The pilings would effectively replace the anchoring system that currently holds the stiff leg dock in location and allow for the mooring of barges up to approximately 100 m in length 

The documents also note how the project will move forward once it leaves the assessment phase underway.

The installation of the roll on/roll off ramp will begin with the construction of the onshore concrete abutment structure that will consist of concrete and reinforcing steel. First, the abutment location will be excavated down to bedrock, leaving an earthen containment berm between the excavation and marine environment. The concrete pouring sequence will include three separate forming and pouring steps in the following order: the mud sill/bedrock interface concrete support structure at the base, the abutment and ramp hinge bearing seat that will attach to the ramp, and a soil retaining wall behind the hinge for additional support. 

Following the installation of the concrete abutment structure, the ramp will be constructed and attached. The ramp will be composed of structural steel I-beams with steel cross members and the deck of the ramp will be constructed out of steel mesh or timber. Lastly, the steel pilings will be installed next to the existing stiff leg dock. The installation will occur via Churn Hammer, which involves repeatedly dropping a heavy weight (called a Churn Hammer) onto the bedrock inside of the piling, thereby breaking the bedrock to create a socket for the piling to enter the bedrock. Rock cuttings from inside the pilings will be removed with a mechanical bailer and placed onto a barge or disposed of on the sea floor via a discharge pipe which extends 3 - 4 meters into the water. 

Any impact on navigation in the area is expected to be minimal with Wainwright noting that the ramp and stiff leg will be located within an area that is frequently used by Wainwright for temporary barge mooring. 

In addition there will be approximately 200m of unobstructed channel remaining that represents the deepest part of the passage, where vessels can operate unobstructed. An Environmental Effects Assessment and an Environmental Management Plan have been produced and are attached to the application that further describe expected impacts and mitigations.

The project is not subject to the Northern Environmental Assessment Regime, with the focus for the comment period that of navigation elements, the deadline to participate is August 7th, 2021 

You can access all of the notes related to the project from the Transport Canada file here.

The Wainwright plans are just one of a number of changes taking place along the waterfront of the Industrial Park, earlier this year we took note of a similar expansion project for the Butze Terminal location.

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