Popular fishing pier in Sidney on the hook for repairs

A new report finds many parts of a popular fishing pier in Sidney are “severely corroded” but do not face imminent risk of failure.

These findings appear in a report before Sidney council, which on Tuesday approved plans to rehabilitate Bevan Pier, a popular spot for locals and visitors that also serves as a fishing and crabbing location.

Councillors unanimously approved the work after receiving a report from Thurber Engineering, which the municipality hired in 2020 to analyze the pier and develop a maintenance approach.

Crews found the expected corrosion, said Jenn Clary, Sidney’s director of engineering, but determined the pier is not at imminent risk of failure.

“The structure does require significant maintenance over the next 25 years, and Thurber developed options for determining a level of service for this waterfront asset,” she said.

The approved motion sees Sidney hire Thurber Engineering to design and tender the work and calls for an underwater inspection of the pier in 2021 if sufficient funds are available.

Sidney’s 2021 budget includes $500,000 for rehabilitation of the Bevan Pier. The estimated cost for the recommended option falls within that amount, despite consultants pegging repair costs as high as $830,000. Town staff will report back only if the work is expected to exceed the approved budget.

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The pier consists of steel piles and beams, with a wooden walking surface and handrails. While a cathodic system protects the steel below the water from corrosion, it does not similarly protect above-water steel.

The chosen option of five available calls for rehabilitation in five to 10 years of all steel elements, from the substructure below the inter-tidal levels to approximately one metre into the spray zone, and localized repairs in the deck zone.

That option also includes smaller maintenance projects approximately every five years through the life of the pier. “This results in a higher overall cost of rehabilitation, but would result in a better structure at the end of the 25-year period,” Clary said.

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Other options considered ranged from doing nothing – rendering the structure unsafe in an estimated five to 15 years – to reactive maintenance, full rehabilitation or replacement, which would carry a “significant” price tag.

An estimate stated as incomplete pegs the cost of pier replacement between $1.6 million and $3.2 million.

“(It) is likely more economical for the Town to continue to maintain the existing rather than replacing it with a new pier structure,” said Clary, whose report also pointed to the fact Sidney is currently dealing with several waterfront assets, key among them Beacon Wharf.

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