Marina development creating big splash in Stanley Bridge
Story and photos by Jim Brown

A thriving village is taking shape at the Stanley Bridge wharf.

In little more than a month two buildings now under construction next to a brand new marina and recently completed breakwater will be offered for rentals. A third building was moved next to the two newer ones, to be used as the boaters’ meeting building and gathering place.

The Stanley Bridge wharf and marina work, which began two years ago, is almost finished and the economic benefits brought to the wharf will radiate outwards to the entire Stanley Bridge, New London, Cavendish area, as well as much of the North Shore, says Stephen Dimond, a director with the Stanley Bridge Harbour Authority who has helped shepherd the massive development through the various planning and development stages. He is also the author of a 200-page report that got project rolling.

It’s going to be “a great year ahead” said Dimond, adding showers, laundry facilities, retail shops and a clubhouse will be ready for business only a short time after spring chases away the last traces of ice from the harbor.

Requests for proposals for the new buildings will be sent out in the coming months. He says each building could accommodate two, perhaps more, businesses.

“Kayak rentals, water sports of some kind, an antique shop, crafts,” are just some of the possibilities. In any case, the buildings should make it much easier for boat-owners and visitors to work and play at the wharf.

“Last year we didn’t have the facilities, now we will have a washroom, driers, showers, laundry and so on,” said Dimond.

The new buildings are just the latest piece of the overall puzzle, which is now fitting together nicely.

Within the past year an impressive breakwater, costing nearly a million dollars, was finished – cost shared by the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency (ACOA), the Province of PEI, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Stanley Bridge Harbour Authority.

In addition to protecting fishing boats, buildings and other structures, the breakwater is also sheltering as many as 50 new slips, all sought by recreational boat owners, and there should be room for more down the road.

The pleasure craft are berthed next to lobster boats during May and June when the spring lobster fishery is underway, as well as mussel fishing boats, which travel back and forth for much of the year.

There has been a long pent-up demand for the slips.

“The list (for pleasure craft) went all the way to 2006,” said Dimond, adding there were as many as 70 names at one point on the list. The current waiting list has been reduced to as few as 10 to 12 names.

“We have a mix of 20 and 30 foot wharfs,” to accommodate any boat up to about 40 feet in length, said Dimond. He estimates by the time all the work is completed at the wharf the price tag could top $2 million. ACOA, the DFO and the Stanley Bridge Harbour Authority are all contributing to the project. As impressive as the allocation was it was pared back from the original tab of four million dollars, he noted. Still, at two million dollars the spending approved for the wharf was amongst the largest of any port on PEI last year.

According to a recent study completed by Dimond in the report that led to the marina and related work, there are roughly 2,500 commercial boats on the Island (fishing vessels) and as many as 15,550 recreational boats. That’s a lot of demand for slips.

The report went on to state there are up to 20 kms of river systems available to recreational boat owners in the New London Bay area that the marina would serve.

Furthermore, according to Dimond, in 2011 two of every three Island residents were within 50 km of the Stanley Bridge wharf, and most of those are within 35-40 minutes drive, not far at all to indulge a favorite pastime. The harbour authority report says there are 700 marina berths for the Island’s 15,500 recreational boats.

The same report identified 161 to 350 likely boats needing a berth within range of the Stanley Bridge marina.

The Stanley Bridge Centre, which hosts history circles and farmer’s markets and is also a venue for entertainment and various community events, stands to benefit greatly from the improvements to the wharf since it is just 300 metres from the harbor. That makes it an ideal venue for meetings and gatherings involving the marina and the harbour authority.

Dimond says the expanded wharf will lead to further development in the area, including more cottages, more businesses and hundreds of thousands more visits. Property values will increase, as will the pool of taxes for the Province.

The Stanley Bridge wharf is busy even in the dead of winter, in January, with the continued construction of the two retail buildings and the loading and unloading of mussel boats.
It will be exciting to see what happens in the spring.


The Stanley Bridge Farmers Market – Fresh, Local, Organic – Back Next Year

Wednesdays 9am to 1pm … with Artisans on Saturdays 9am to 1pm !

Starting next July we will be pleased to continue the Stanley Bridge Farmers Market at the Centre. From 9am until 1pm, on Wednesdays throughout the summer, you’ll find the finest fresh food that PEI has to offer.  Help grow the Community Appeal and the knowledge that Stanley Bridgers and visitors alike care about the foods we eat and the environment around us.   Join us again next summer for Fresh, Local, and Organic products – direct from the farm to you.

We welcome enquiries from Farmers, Food Vendors, and local producers !

Farmers Market Opening Day

Farmers Market Opening Day

Saturday’s Market will feature both fresh and local food, as well as Craftspeople and Artisans :

We are seeking new quality vendors !


The Stanley Bridge Centre – A Venue for Culture and Events

In September, 2008,  due to declining membership and financial costs to maintain the building, the Stanley Bridge United Church, in Stanley Bridge, Prince Edward Island, was decommissioned.  The United Church Presbytery of PEI and Maritime Conference decided in 2009 to officially turn the building over to the former members of the church and they in turn applied to be incorporated as the Stanley Bridge Memorial Society Inc. Directors and trustees were appointed to provide the leadership and direction for the building, as they felt that it was important to maintain its rich heritage and legacy.

The Board’s Mission Statement was the historic preservation of the church and heritage of the Stanley Bridge church.  The Stanley Bridge Centre would provide a Cultural/Events Centre and Archival Room that will house historical items and artifacts of significance as well as genealogy records.  The Farmers Market is an undertaking that continues the tradition of this community meeting place.

This renewal project will require a large financial undertaking as a new basement is needed as well as washrooms, a kitchen, window restoration, a new roof, insulation and accessibility for all. The Stanley Bridge Memorial Society Inc, owner of the building, has charitable status and is continuing a campaign to raise funds for building improvements.  This website provides an historical background, a virtual tour of the interior and exterior, a viewing of the plans for the building, a Donation page and many other features.

We ask that you consider a donation to our renewal project as we believe that the building is a landmark in the community and deserves to have it’s legacy continue for years to come.   We trust that you will support this important community effort in Stanley Bridge.

Stanley Bridge Memorial Society

This website will include developments in the planning, historical research and the ongoing process of fundraising and of the restoration, repair and reconstruction of the Stanley Bridge Cantre. Check back often to keep abreast of what is happening and how your contribution is helping to realize the goals of the Society.