VICTORIA – Salish Sea Industrial Services Inc. has successfully completed work on the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) and the City of Victoria $1.8 Million Ship Point Repair project.

The GVHA and the City shared the cost for the project, with work beginning in late October of last year. The Registered Aboriginal Business officially completed work on the project on May 10, maintaining the agreed-upon budget.

“The project involved a lot of demolition, including the removal and disposal of 400 tonnes of asphalt,” says Rob Menzies, Estimator and Project Manager for Salish Sea. “Once the dock was opened up, we exposed the structural beams underneath. We then put in 38 new steel pipe pilings to depths of up to 108 feet.”

“Ship Point is an integral part of the Inner Harbour, providing a platform for dozens of community events, celebrations, and fundraisers each year,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of GVHA in a recent press release. “We are pleased to have Ship Point back in service prior to the busy summer season in time for events such as the Victoria Cool Aid Society Homecoming Gala, Northwest Deuce Days, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, and weekend artisans’ marketplace.”

The old pier and north apron of Ship Point form the project’s original structure, with pier extension construction occurring in 1979. In 2017, a detailed structural analysis of Ship Point was undertaken, and it was determined that the structure needed critical repair work.

The request for a bid came out in September, 2018, which is when Menzies put together an estimate on behalf of Salish Sea. The much-needed repair work focussed on replacing components of a structure originally built in 1949.

Launched in 2012, Salish Sea Industrial Services Ltd. (SSIS) is a marine construction business owned jointly by the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations in partnership with The Ralmax Group, the parent company of 11 integrated industrial businesses all with a connection to Victoria harbour.

“We are a local, Indigenous-owned enterprise and we proudly bring to this project a well-earned reputation for quality work and professionalism,” said Karen Tunkara, Director at Salish Sea Industrial Services Ltd. and Councillor Songhees Nation in a press release. “It’s heartening to see the City of Victoria, GVHA and our two Lekwungen Nations – Songhees and Esquimalt – come together in the best interests of the harbour and all its citizens to refurbish this pier and in doing so, revitalize this public space for all to enjoy. The harbour was once the transportation highway of our ancestors; It was our food basket, the heart of our share-economy and our sheltered village site. Returning to the harbour with our own enterprise to earn our livelihoods once again today as colleagues and equals feels very good indeed.”

Salish Sea specializes in marine construction, but has worked on a variety of jobs, including foundation work and civil construction. The company owns and operates a fleet of barges that are docked and maintained in the Victoria Harbour. When they’re not being used for a Salish Sea project, these craft are often chartered by interested parties for other important projects.

Recently, Salish Sea has been making headlines after winning a federal government contract as part of the Abandoned Boat Program.

“We have been very active in the removal and disposal of derelict boats all over the coast,” says Menzies. “It’s a really great thing to be a part of, as these boats have been an issue for many years.

“These boats often end up in small municipalities or townships that don’t have the resources to remove them. The townships were looking to the province, who were looking to the federal government, and eventually, the issue was addressed through this program.”

Last November, Menzies priced a project to remove 17 boats in the Gulf Islands. Through the project, $400,000 was provided by the federal government, and the boats were brought to a disposal site in Victoria.

“We’re lucky to be a part of The Ralmax Group,” says Menzies. “After we remove the boats from the location, they are transported back to a Ralmax-owned containment facility. Demolition crews and a hazmat division test the vessels, recycling what they can, and disposing of the rest. It’s amazing that we can play such a key role in cleaning up our coast.”