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Norway Bay to get new docks

by Sophie Kuijper Dickson
Apr. 2, 2024
The Municipality of Bristol will pay for a new set of docks to be installed at the Norway Bay beach this year to make deep-water swimming possible despite the indefinite closure of the pier for safety reasons.
In March, the municipality announced that after receiving the results of an engineering study of the pier’s structural safety in the fall, it had no choice but to close the pier until it could be properly repaired.
At last Tuesday’s council meeting, Bristol council voted unanimously in favour of a motion to purchase a new set of docks, to be installed this year, so that residents could continue to enjoy deep water swimming in the bay.
“Deep water docks are of course one of those vital things that we need not only for safety in our community to make sure every person learns to swim [ . . .] but also to offer [a place] that would be able to be used after hours with little to no supervision,” said councillor Valerie Twolan-Graham preceding the vote on the matter.
The proposal for the new dock configuration came from the Norway Bay Municipal Association, which works to offer recreational and social activities to residents of the bay throughout the summer.
The association’s president, Patrick Byrne, spoke to council on Tuesday to emphasize the urgency with which the group feels a deep water swimming option be made available this year.
“We have to consider the whole use. We have to design it not only for a bunch of 11 -year-olds taking lessons, but for a bunch of 20-year-olds on a Saturday having some fun out there,” Byrne said.
He and the association’s executive members have spent the past month coming up with a design for the new docks that they believe meets all the needs of the people who use the Norway Bay waterfront.

The docks will extend from the furthermost end of the gravel portion of the pier, connecting with it at the point just before the metal portion begins.
A series of long docks will extend perpendicularly from this point, east into the bay. The water at that point will be four to five feet deep.
Two additional stand-alone docks will be positioned on either end of the long dock, for instructors to use while giving swimming lessons.
All docks will be supported by adjustable aluminum poles which work well with the bay’s sandy bottom.
Finally, the entire area, what Byrne refers to as the pool, will be enclosed with a string of buoys, and a few larger buoys will be placed strategically to deter boat traffic using the nearby boat ramp from getting too close to the swimmers.
“The boat ramp would continue to operate, and these docks aren’t meant to interfere with it,” Byrne assured, but did note he is concerned boats will use the new docks to moor while they wait to get access to the ramp.
Byrne estimated the total price of the docks to be about $24,000, a bill the municipality will pick up using funds borrowed from the $100,000 or so it had set aside as a pier restoration fund.
Bristol mayor Brent Orr said the docks will offer a temporary fix to an immediate need in the community, and will either be sold once the pier is repaired or will replace the docks that have previously been used.
Councillor Twolan-Graham also noted that a pier committee had been established with a mandate of doing an in-depth study of the report, preparing recommendations to council for how best to move forward, and leading the way on all fundraising efforts, including grant writing.
The committee’s 12 members will meet for the first time on Apr. 13.
Members are Pat Byrne, Nancy Crain, Jim Dent, Jean-Pierre Dubois, Kevin Keohane, Bruce Mason, Fred Speer, Connie Twolan, Grant Woolsey, as well as Bristol councillors Valerie Twolan-Graham and Archie Greer, and committee chair Terry Kiefl.


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