OCI's operation in South Dildo, Trinity Bay.
Ocean Choice International’s plan to build a controversial wharf and cold-storage facility in the middle of the harbour in Long Pond, Conception Bay South, would leave a $7-million white elephant in South Dildo, Trinity Bay where Ottawa has recently rebuilt a commercial deep-water wharf.
OCI also owns a processing plant and cold-storage facility at the South Dildo property, which is said to have plenty of room for expansion, and has been a brown industrial site since the early 1960s — home to such operations as Carino, Woodman’s Sea Products, and FPI.
DFO’s Small Craft Harbours has spent roughly $7 million to overhaul the South Dildo wharf since 2015, and OCI’s growing operation was an obvious factor in that decision.
That raises the question why OCI isn't sticking with South Dildo for its new marine base.
Developing the Long Pond site would create a $7-million white elephant in terms of the already functioning and safe deep-water port facility in South Dildo, which is too high to be used by local longliners, and the small-boat fleet.
The South Dildo port facilities also have strategic value in that the wharf is wide, with deep water for OCI’s fleet of factory-freezer trawlers, and the site is close to the Trans-Canada Highway.
OCI’s proposed plan for Long Pond — which has been approved in principle by the CBS Town Council — has been met with protest from areas residents and businesses, who had no idea of the proposal until recent weeks when the news broke in the media.
Under its proposal, OCI will essentially build a small island in the Long Pond harbour for a new wharf, and cold-storage facility.
Concerns has been raised about the environmental impact, as well as the operation of a commercial facility with tractor trailers, fork lifts, and increased vessel traffic. Fear has also been expressed that the project will jeopardize sailing and recreational boating in the area.
It’s not known whether OCI will be looking for more federal funds for its proposed Long Pond development, on top of the funds that have already been spent in South Dildo.