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Lewisporte Yacht Club History

The genesis for marina development really began with a document entitled "Proposed Park Port Development" which was prepared by the Town of Lewisporte in June of 1990. This document recommended in its plans for harbour development that "provision be made for completion of a small boat marina suitable for docking and storage of smaller vessels". Subsequent to the release of this report, the Lewisporte Area Development Association (LADA) formulated a proposal entitled "Lewisporte Marina Complex Study" which made a strong case for extensive marina development. The proposal was presented to the Newfoundland Government’s Department of Development in September of 1990.

Subsequently, a joint effort and follow-up with respect to major marina development was initiated conjointly by three interested groups. Thus it was that the Town of Lewisporte, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and the Lewisporte Area Development Association commissioned and financed an engineering study pertaining to a marina development in Lewisporte. This study was carried out by W.F. Baird & Associates Coastal Engineers of Ottawa in partnership with Barry Sheppard Consulting from St. John’s. Their draft report, entitled Preliminary Marina Master Plan, which was released in June, 1991, has been the primary guide in the subsequent development of the Marina Complex.

In 1992 the Town of Lewisporte leased the present marina facility to the Lewisporte Yacht Club, a local incorporated body, for a period of five years. This volunteer organization was given first option to renew the lease at the end of each five year period. Since then the Yacht Club has spearheaded incremental development at the marina site with continued co-operation and support from the Town of Lewisporte and government. The first submission for funding was made by the Lewisporte Yacht Club in 1992. It was entitled, "A Proposal to Repair and Upgrade Facilities at Lewisporte Small Boat Marina". The application for funding was made to a provincial entity, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador.

From the beginning, all levels of government envisioned the development as a regional facility located in Lewisporte Harbour. With a clear vision and with a desire to facilitate financial and logistical support from governments and government agencies a non-profit regional entity, Gateway Developers, was incorporated on January 26, 1994. Gateway Developers Inc. was comprised of a board of directors from Lewisporte, Gander, Boyd’s Cove, Twillingate and Campbellton. The board was a composite board in that its directors were members of other organizations. Those organizations were Lewisporte Yacht Club, Town of Lewisporte, Lewisporte Area Development Association, North Atlantic Loop Tourism Association, Lewisporte and Area Chamber of Commerce, Gander Town Council, Newfoundland and Labrador Rural Development Association as well as Gander Area Community Futures. This regional representation helped expedite support from all levels of government as well as relative government agencies for the proposed major marina development at Lewisporte. It was agreed by all supporting parties that the development would result in the construction of a regional facility based on the Marina Master Plan.

Meanwhile, in June of 1992 the Government of Newfoundland released a Strategic Economic Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador that emphasized the need for "expanding and improving facilities and services" in order to take advantage of our potential in marine-centered tourism. Another document , entitled, "Towards an Adventure Tourism Strategy", released by the Provincial Department of Tourism also supported marina development as a form of infrastructure that would promote provincially adventure tourism and eco-tourism that were expanding internationally. Because of obvious support from government for the concept of a first class marina as well as widespread regional support for the proposed project, a New Proposal Committee of the Lewisporte Yacht Club helped co-ordinate a series of presentations through LYC and Gateway Developers. The presentations were delivered to various stakeholders and particularly to government and government agencies.

As intimated, the overall aim of the proposed development from day one was to have a marina that would serve all the communities in Central Newfoundland and also cater to the needs of recreational marine traffic from beyond our shores. As a result of those initial meetings in 1992 with top officials of ACOA, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador (ENL), Small Craft Harbours of DFO, the Minister of Tourism and Culture as well as the local M.H.A., funding for the first phase of the major development was applied for in 1994. This first proposed phase of the development was to be funded under the Infrastructure Agreement, a joint funding strategy involving financial support from Canada’s three levels of government. The agreement provided for a cost sharing formula which saw each party contributing one third to the cost of the project. At a meeting at the Lewisporte Town Hall on March 4, 1994 with MP George Baker the New Proposal Committee was informed by Mr. Baker that he had made a case to the Provincial Infrastructure Management Committee for the inclusion of "marina infrastructure" as a qualifying project for infrastructure funding. Thus it was that 1994 saw the completion of a survey of water depths and bottom composition in the cove as a precursor to later development.

Gateway Developers, the Town of Lewisporte and the Lewisporte Yacht Club were now assured of government support for the construction of a first-class marina. Lewisporte was selected as the site for a first-class, major marina on the Northeast Coast because of its central location between Baie Verte and Clarenville. Meanwhile, volunteer membership in the Lewisporte Yacht Club had grown from twenty-five to seventy-five by 1992 as more members from various other communities were joining. Moreover, the Yacht Club agreed to contribute $50,000 to the initial phase of the development. By early 2002 the volunteers of the LYC had repaid the complete loan with accumulated interest.

Work has continued on the Marina Complex over the past decade. In 1995 the first phase of the breakwater was completed. The breakwater extension was finished in 1997. The LYC also gained control of the old government wharf which it now operates as part of the total Marina Complex. In 1999 the first floating docks were put in place. Some paving and landscaping was also done during that year. In the same year the Clubhouse or Visitors Building was constructed. By the year 2000, the utility building or repair shop was improved by the addition of a new and higher roof. A furnace was installed and the shed was insulated. Also a boom for removing masts was installed on the main wharf.

Year 2001 saw the removal of the old marine rail system that had served the site faithfully since 1966. The vessel storage site was then upgraded to store boats that would be removed from the water on the newly purchased Con-O-Lift. The new Con-O-Lift went into operation late in the season taking vessels out of the water over the newly constructed ramp adjacent to the latest cribbing near the end of the breakwater. More floating piers were put in place in 2001. Another major project during the summer of 2001 was the installation of a new electrical system that saw the provision of electrical power to the piers. To meet demand, during 2001 storage sheds were constructed for rental to patrons. During year 2001 the Lewisporte Yacht Club also produced a quality brochure to market the facility nationally and internationally.

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