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Temporary dock needed ? and fast ? for Island?s new ferry

The Corporation of St. George?s and Government are scrambling to get final Planning permission for a ?temporary? dock in St. George?s before a new ferry arrives next month.

The application to build a bow-loading ferry dock at Market Wharf was received at Planning on June 16.

On June 15 Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Tourism and Transport Marc Telemaque told Environment Permanent Secretary Wayne Carey that the new ferry will be dedicated to a St. George?s route and an existing ferry would be removed to another service.

?The new ferry is 124 feet in length, approximately 40 feet larger than the current ferry and as such cannot operate from the existing dock at Ordnance Island,? Mr. Telemaque said in the application.

Ministry of Works and Engineering and Housing plans showed the new dock was proposed to be built near an existing car park outside Chick?s Bar and Grill.

?The ferry dock is situated to maximise convenience for the motoring public thereby encouraging a park and ride type facility for St. George?s,? Mr. Telemaque said. ?This project is an extremely high priority project for this Ministry.?

Nancy Hooper, Secretary of the Corporation of St. George?s, told Mr. Carey in the application on June 15 that Hurricane Fabian destroyed a floating ferry dock in September 2003.

?Since that time the Government ferries have been using the dock alongside the Yacht Reporting Centre,? Ms Hooper said. ?This situation has been very difficult to accommodate given the heavy marine traffic experienced in this area, particularly during the summer season.?

Derrick Binns, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Works and Engineering, also said in the application that the new dock would take up minimum space and be built around a pre-existing structure.

?This is a very high priority project for our clients, the fifth new ferry is arriving in August 2006 and it is our intention to have this facility operational shortly thereafter,? Dr. Binns said.

However, Senior Planner Anna Eatherley asked Dr. Binns on July 3 if Government really wanted ?temporary? Planning approval, which meant permission would only last for a few years.

?I have reviewed your submission and it is not clear why you want this facility for a temporary period,? Ms Eatherley said. ?I would advise you to amend this application to ?construction of new ferry dock?. Even if you plan to replace this facility in the near future, there is no benefit to being tied to a specific time period.?

The Government plans also revealed that the new dock will include two fenders, as well as a passenger gangway ramp, supported by 12.75-foot steel pipes. Bourne Consulting Engineering, of Franklin, Massachusetts were listed on the plans and on June 16, Planning asked the Department of Conservation Service?s Marine Resources Board and the Department of Marine and Ports for their observations.