Crumbling historic wharf on St. John River spurs group to action – New Brunswick

Long after the days when steamboats plied the St. John River, some Kingston Peninsula residents are trying to save one of the many wharves where the riverboats picked up passengers.

Some might consider Whites Bluff wharf the best kept secret on the peninsula.

‘Every year, the wharf deteriorates a little more, and it’s something that’s on all of our minds.’
– Alice Fudge, Long Reach

Found at the bottom off a dusty road off Route 845 in Long Reach, the wharf sprawls out into the St. John River.

“I learned how to swim there,” said Alice Fudge, who grew up in Long Reach. “It’s a local hotspot for, like I said, swimming, fishing, boating, and all kinds of water activities.”

But the concrete wharf, built in the 1920s, has sustained abuse from the elements over the years, as rough weather slowly chipped away at it.

For people living in the area, the carefreeness of summer days spent jumping off the piers has shifted to concern about the wharf’s future.

“Every year, the wharf deteriorates a little more and it’s something that’s on all of our minds,” Fudge said. 

Many residents have wondered how much longer Whites Bluff wharf can last. Weighing just as heavily on their minds is how much longer the deteriorating concrete will be a safe place to enjoy the river.

Restoration needed

Fudge said a group concerned about the wharf decided that 2017 was the year to save it. Cost estimates from local tradespeople have put the price tag for repairs to the concrete at about $25,000.

A lot of wharves along the St. John River were taken over by community groups when the Department of Fisheries and Oceans handed off ownership in 1998. Whites Bluff and 11 other  wharves are owned by the St. John River Society, a non-profit group.

Alice Fudge is one of the community members who want to stop the deterioration of White’s Bluff wharf. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Rather than trying to persuade the government to help, Fudge said her group…

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