The infrastructure installed in Heriot Bay has enabled the aquaculture industry to expand and create incremental employment opportunities.
Shellfish aquaculture on the east side of Quadra Island is booming as a result of ideal farming conditions for growing high-quality, sustainable blue mussels, oysters, sea cucumbers, prawns, scallops and geoduck. In 2010, boats from more than 50 producers unloaded an average of 20 tonnes per week at the Heriot Bay wharf. An additional 20 tonnes were being unloaded at an adjacent beach ramp because of capacity constraints. Overcrowding and the lack of appropriate infrastructure made offloading slow and cumbersome and created safety. The region needed proper offloading facilities to meet the anticipated 20 per cent per year growth in the shellfish aquaculture sector.
To meet the demands of the existing traffic and address future needs, the Quadra Island Harbour Authority developed a five phase upgrade project. The current project addresses Phases 2 through 4 and included the installation of a new 100 metre catamaran style breakwater and a new 26m x 17m floating concrete loading wharf capable of handling trucks up to 25 tonnes. The project also included the installation of a new 20 metre pedestrian gangway, replacement of trestle and support pilings with a 10 metre concrete and steel trestle and a 30 metre steel ramp with the capacity to allow 25 tonne trucks to drive onto the concrete float.
The facility upgrades, completed in 2013, have significantly improved offloading capacity and industry productivity, for both wild fisheries and aquaculture. Boats can quickly unload and delivery trucks can safely pick up their cargo. Commercial and recreational use of the Wharf are separated, ensuring efficient sharing of the facility. The expanded capacity has created new employment opportunities for shore workers, in addition to the jobs created from increasing shellfish production, transformation and transport.