By Jonathan Lee
The Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation in Nova Scotia is seeking input from Mahone Bay shoreline residents on a proposed mooring grid to better manage recreational and commercial marine traffic. Feedback from affected area residents should be submitted to the foundation by no later than April 15.
An increasing number of boaters on the bay prompted the town to seek out a more organized system.
Overseeing the project is Allan Billard, a special consultant and retired marine biologist. “I am with the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation, which is engaged in this third-party, non-partisan work for the Town of Mahone Bay,” he explains. “The Foundation’s expertise was sought out to ensure that an unbiased management system could be implemented.”
According to Billard, the bay is like the “Wild West” when it comes to mooring rules. “There are an awful lot of unofficial moorings,” he explains. “Mahone Bay is becoming a neat little town and it’s rising on the list of visitors who enjoy coastal sailing. Boaters pull up and choose a nice spot to anchor while shoreline residents usually drop a mooring buoy in the water 200 feet (60 metres) away from their property. However, it’s getting to the point that there isn’t a lot of room left, so we need to regulate the space a little better.”
Once finalized, the town envisions its mooring grid as being overseen by a management group on its behalf. Billard currently anticipates the grid could include some 75 to 80 mooring buoys.
Pointing to Baddeck, Nova Scotia, as an example, Billard says such grids have already successfully been implemented. “Baddeck received permission from the government as well as the cooperation of shoreline residents to put in an official mooring grid that everyone has agreed to abide by,” he explains. “This provides residents on the shore one free mooring buoy. If you’re a sailor that wants to come up to visit Mahone Bay for a day or week, you can pay for mooring. We have a couple of commercial marine businesses that need to be accommodated as well.”
Ultimately, it’s hoped the grid will lead to the more efficient use of space within the bay. “If you have painted lines in a parking lot, you can accommodate far more cars,” compares Billard. “We have a number of smaller houseboats, which may want a suitable site up further up the bay. Deeper keel boats could be positioned where the water is deeper.”
Billard also believes there will be new business opportunities on the bay, such as tender services for boaters seeking transportation to and from their moored vessels.
In addition to resident feedback, The Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation’s grid will require approval from Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources.
The Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation’s purpose is to protect, enhance and restore the ecosystem on the south shore of Nova Scotia through research, education and action.
Allan Billard can be reached at (902) 449-0581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.