Diana MacKinnon-Furlong, president of the Mira Gut Rural Development Association, has suggested that the armour rock being used in a temporary breakwater at the cleanup site be transported to Mira Gut upon completion of the salvage operation.
“Studies have shown that if they put a second breakwater there it will cause a natural dredging, a natural purging,” said MacKinnon-Furlong, who resides a stone’s throw from Mira Bay.
“Because we have such an intense river current, another breakwater — built across the gut from the breakwater on the north side — would allow the current to naturally purge out all that sedimentation buildup.”
MacKinnon-Furlong cited a 2009 study, commissioned by the provincial government and carried out by Strait Engineering Ltd., that suggested the only viable option is “the construction of a second rubblemound jetty on the south bank of the inlet.”
The estimated cost of a second breakwater is about $600,000, which includes engineering, agency approvals and construction.
MacKinnon-Furlong said the cost could be lower if the armour rock now in use as a temporary breakwater at the MV Miner salvage site was to be transported to Mira Gut.
“There are tons of it over there off of Scatarie and if they blast it into the sea, well, what a waste when just across Mira Bay the gut and river needs it,” she said.
MacKinnon-Furlong said she has had some dialogue on the issue with Geoff MacLellan, Nova Scotia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, who she is hoping will help bring construction of a second Mira Gut breakwater to fruition.
MacLellan was unavailable for comment by press time on Wednesday.
Alfie MacLeod, MLA for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg, said previous attempts at securing funding to address the Mira Gut sedimentation problem have failed.
“There is not a lot of money for small craft harbours, so it hard to do anything,” said MacLeod.
The province’s five-year plan for infrastructure renewal does not include any work on Mira Gut or the bridge, the area residents claim is in dire need of repair.
“Something needs to be done and soon,” said MacKinnon-Furlong. “People are going out of the river and are smacking up their propellers and getting stuck on the sand bars and sometimes they have to wait for high tide to move them.”
She said the lack of a second breakwater has also contributed to the deterioration of the land supporting the south end of the bridge.
"Look at how much of the beach has eroded over the past few years and we could end up eventually losing the bridge, too."
Meanwhile, the salvage operation of the MV Miner, which ran aground on the Scatarie coast in September 2011, is expected to be completed sometime in November.
The $12-million job, which is being carried out by Antigonish-based RJ MacIssac Construction, included the construction of a temporary breakwater at the site of the derelict ship which was being towed to Turkey for scrap when it wrecked on the Scatarie shore.
The rock and stone was barged to the island from Louisbourg.