Members of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club have started one of the club’s largest undertakings in its 122 year history – a $5-million refurbishment of the marina.
Vice commodore Andrew McBride said the project includes replacing 25-year-old decks and 130 of the 154 pilings, which on average, are about 50 years old, with 90 new ones. New six-foot wide docks will replace the current eight to 10-foot wide ones, to accommodate larger boats.
After completion in September, the capacity of the marina will shrink from 258 to 249 boats.
“The decks were never pressure treated,” McBride said. “It was time to renew all this stuff. Boats have gotten larger over the years.”
New mini-mesh decking will allow sunlight to penetrate the water, which is important to marine life growth, McBride added. That mesh and the new encased plastic floatations will also discourage otters and seals from congregating, which can create a strong foul smell in the summer.
The club has many retired members who are quite active and because most are mindful of the financial bottom line for the project, many have volunteered to do some of the construction.
“It’s great to see 85-year-old guys pull up decking boards,” McBride said with a laugh. “A lot of the pieces of the puzzle are being done by our volunteers and staff.”
The club plans to recycle as much of the old material as possible. Some dismantled wood will be reused for other projects and the club will sell or give away the rest.
“Old pilings can be used as retaining walls,” McBride said. “Used pilings and telephone poles are reused that way. Disposal is not the greatest environmental option and it’s also the most expensive.”
Neighbours will be relieved as the new pilings will be installed by vibration instead of being repeatedly pounded into place. The new docks will be pre-built and then either barged or floated in.
Once the marina is complete, the club will rebuild the foreshore and repair the parking lot.
“It’s going to be one of the nicest marinas in the Pacific Northwest once it’s done,” McBride said, adding that in 2015 the club will be rebuild its marina in Sidney.
Local contractor, Salish Sea Industrial Services, a joint venture between Ralmax Contracting and the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, is overseeing the project.