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Sinking a Scuba Mecca

We think of landmarks as being on land, but we have underwater landmarks on the river. Soon we may have one more. A non-profit group based at Mallorytown has rallied support for a project to add another sunken wreck as an "artificial reef," intended primarily to attract scuba divers, relieving some of the intensive underwater traffic around other historic wrecks.

HMCS Terra Nova

Diving has been increasing in popularity in recent years, as evident on both shores. Dan Humble and Beth Hewson established the Dive Tech Training Centre at Mallorytown in 1994. During the ensuing thirteen years Dan and Beth have been major contributors to the diving boom on the river and have made many friends, not merely on the river but at other diving sites around the world. They are the moving force behind the Eastern Ontario Artificial Reef Association, the organization that has promoted the acquisition and sinking of the HMCS Terra Nova, a decommissioned Canadian naval destroyer escort.

The site proposed for the sinking is 125 deep in the center of the river, two miles below Brown's Bay Provincial Park. Presently under-used, the park facility would serve as the staging and launching point. Brown's Bay is located on the Thousand Islands Parkway, approximately twelve miles from Brockville and twenty from Gananoque.

The ship-sinking campaign has developed over the past two years, but the project is still contingent on raising about two million dollars. The sponsoring organization has has met with government agencies and municipalities, receiving support (but not funds) from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, Transport Canada Navigable Waters Protection, and neighboring communities. The city of Brockville Economic Development Director, David Paul, says that "there is tremendous support and enthusiasm for your artificial reef project."

by Paul Malo

Posted in: Sports
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