A sunken barge could alter the City of Thunder Bay's plans for the next phase of waterfront redevelopment at Prince Arthur's Landing.
Items of “archeological interest” dating back to the city's early history have been identified, including a barge filled with concrete and a dock constructed in 1882.
These artifacts may impose constraints to install 300 boat slips on a city-owned section of waterfront.
“They're not old if you were to think of Halifax or Quebec City standards,” said waterfront manager Katherine Dugmore, “but old in terms of Thunder Bay. They date back to the original port in Port Arthur.”
Dugmore said back in the 1800s all of the land on the Lake Superior side of the railway tracks was infilled to create docks and extend the shoreline.
To comply with government regulations, these artifacts would be left in its current state and any development would have work around it.
Dugmore said removing anything with archeological value is an extensive and costly process. “Conservation of marine artifacts that have been in the water that long is exceedingly expensive, and it's also difficult. The preference is that you preserve them in place, so you don't mess with them.”
A report is going to council in the fall to consider some alternatives including leaving the artifacts in place and installing the marina slips elsewhere.