June 23, 2020

Shediac Bay Yacht ClubBy Craig Ritchie

Severely damaged last fall as Hurricane Dorian tore through Canada’s East Coast, New Brunswick’s Shediac Bay Yacht Club is set to officially re-open on June 26 following a $2.2 million reconstruction.

The club’s marina facilities on Shediac Harbour suffered major damage on September 7 when high winds and a massive storm surge from the category 2 hurricane overwhelmed the breakwater – pushing aside numerous concrete blocks each weighing more than 4,000 pounds – before flinging boats and docks atop one another and up onto the shore. Yacht Club manager Gerry O’Brien, who has boated in the area for decades, told media he had never seen anything like the devastation that followed Dorian, describing the scene after the storm as “a real mess.”

Following nine months of hard work and approximately $2.2 million in restoration work, the marina is now ready to officially re-open for the 2020 season on June 26. “Now it will be one of the nicest marinas around,” said O’Brien. “Everything is state-of-the-art as far as the docks go.”

The marina will open with a capacity of 172 slips for boats to 54 feet in length, while a final section of marina still under reconstruction will open a few weeks later with room for an additional 24 vessels. The facility is normally open from Victoria Day weekend until the Friday before Thanksgiving.

Apart from operating the marina facilities, the bilingual Shediac Bay Yacht Club operates a popular sailing school, promotes racing, and organizes both cruises and social events.

Boats and marina facilities at the nearby at the Point-du-Chene wharf were also severely damaged by Dorian, and have also been rebuilt for the 2020 season. The Wharf is a major tourist attraction in the Shediac area, drawing more than 300,000 visitors each year. A number of shops and restaurants along the structure have now been rebuilt on pilings to raise them two metres off the ground as a safeguard against future storms.

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