Good morning, everyone.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), we are doing a study of the current state of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' small craft harbours.
I'd like to welcome our guests this morning. By video conference, we have Mr. Alex Patterson from the community services and tourism division of the Municipality of Wawa. Here in person, from the NunatuKavut Community Council, we have the president, Todd Russell, who, of course, is no stranger to the Hill as a former MP for Labrador. As well, we have Mr. Robert Coombs, a consultant.
We will start off with NunatuKavut for seven minutes, whether you're splitting your time or one person's doing all the talking. We're good to go when you are.
Good morning, Mr. Chair. Thank you for the invitation to appear at the committee.
Good morning to all of the members.
I represent the NunatuKavut Community Council. I have with me Rob Coombs, who joined our team a few months ago as an adviser and as a consultant. We're proud to be here to present to you a little bit of context for what the NunatuKavut Community Council is, and also to speak more specifically about small craft harbours and how they fit into that particular context.
I'm going to take you through a fairly quick and, we feel, concise presentation. Of course, then we'll be available for questions.
In terms of the NunatuKavut Community Council, “NunatuKavut” means “our ancient land”. It's an Inuktitut word. It is the territory of the Inuit of NunatuKavut, the southern Inuit who reside, primarily, in central and southern Labrador.
Our traditional territory covers the entirety of south central Labrador and the adjacent marine areas, and also extends westward to the Labrador-Quebec border. As you can see, it's a vast area, and like most indigenous territories, it is the land that our people are in relationship with. It is the territory our people—traditionally and currently—use and occupy.
The NunatuKavut Community Council is the representative government of approximately 6,000 southern Inuit who belong to this territory. Do you see this lady here? People ask, “Why do you put her there?” Women are strong in our culture. They're the culture carriers. This is a woman who was obviously the head of her household. In our tradition, she would be fishing and she would probably do a little bit of hunting at the same time, providing for her family, and in some regards, for her community. That's what we want to do as a government—provide for our community.
We have a vision to be self-governing. We will provide and care for one another, our families and communities, while nurturing our relationship with our land, ice and waters. We try to keep that vision firmly in front of us as we do our work on behalf of our people.
The NunatuKavut Inuit are a rights-bearing people, and we have a responsibility to ensure that the land, sea and ice, and our water rights and titles are recognized and respected, as our ancestors taught us.
July 12, 2018, was a historic day. The Government of Canada announced a renewed relationship with us that will recognize the indigenous rights and self-determination of the southern Inuit. That was a day to celebrate, and one that we engaged in with the Government of Canada. Talks are moving quite well with the Government of Canada. For as long as we have existed, the people of NunatuKavut have also been dependent upon the resource industry and the resource partnerships that contribute to community sustainability.
In this context, I now want to move towards small craft harbours. Here's a map. We have a vast coastline. We want to talk about the marine infrastructure, but in order to talk about that, I think it's important for the committee and for members to also know the importance of the marine resources off our shores and how important they were to us for subsistence, travel, economy, recreation and our culture, of course. We're all linked to the sea.
There's another Inuktitut word—sikumiut. It means “people of the sea”. We are a people related to the sea, to the marine environment. All NunatuKavut communities touch salt water, either figuratively or literally. Port facilities and small craft harbours are certainly culturally significant as well.
The Labrador Sea is also critical for the ecological, economic and societal health of the North American and European ecosystems. The Hamilton Bank, which is right off NunatuKavut, is one of the most productive areas in the northwest Atlantic. The fishery, we can say with some confidence, has been such a vital part of our past, is still a part of our current way of being and is certainly part of our future. It is the lifeblood of our people.
In terms of core fishing harbours—and this is quite telling—there are so many resources off our coast, but just look at where the port infrastructure is. There is very little port infrastructure within NunatuKavut or within Labrador generally, and it is crucial and important.
There have been some investments this past summer of $18.5 million to seven small craft harbours. I have to tell you, this is more catch-up than it is the forerunner. There is much need. They're long overdue investments. While we appreciate them, there's much more to do.
What we have heard when we reached out to our small craft harbour organizations was that further investments are required. A funding model is needed that looks through the lens of indigenous and northern communities and fisheries development. Basic operational and administrative funding should be made available for northern and indigenous small craft harbours, and issues of governance and capacity development need to be addressed in order for small craft harbours to work more efficiently and to bring more value to the fishing industry and to our communities.
We also want to talk about safe harbours. It might be a different concept. We have 4,000 miles of coastline in Labrador. The fishery, of course, is adjacent to all of that territory, but where are the safe harbours? There are vast distances. With global warming, storm surges, more severity when it comes to storms and the changes in the ecosystem, people are feeling that there's a great need, for small craft harbours, to look at the infrastructure that they may not be utilizing as much in the current situation, and ask if they can keep the infrastructure up and designate them as safe harbours. It is very important. It is something that has certainly been an issue raised by our fishers and by those in the fishing industry. It's a concept we also want to bring to the committee.
By way of conclusion, we want to again thank you. We want to say how important the commercial and subsistence fisheries are to our culture, our way of life. We also want to say that small craft harbours can play a fundamental role in fisheries development. We should also look at how this program plays out over the next few years through the lens of reconciliation.
I appreciate your time, Mr. Chair. I look forward to the other presentations, and I welcome questions.
Thank you very much for having us. We certainly appreciate the opportunity to be consulted.
For those of you who don't know where Wawa is, we're the small town with the big goose on Highway 17 in northern Ontario.
We have some history in our community with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and specifically small craft harbours. Originally, the marina, which is what we're really concerned about today, was built as a partnership between private organizations and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It was originally intended for the commercial fisheries of Lake Superior. After that was devastated from various reasons, mostly with sea lamprey but also overfishing, the marina transferred from a commercial fisheries' marina to a recreational marina.
That's where I think a lot of priorities were dropped because a lot of these commercial facilities come first and our recreational facilities come second. This marina was leased to the municipality several years ago as one of two options: either lease it to the municipality to continue to run it, or stop running it completely.
We've had several issues going forward with the marina specifically related to how this asset is maintained. As it's not a municipal asset, we've had a lot of difficulty in having the resources to maintain this asset, and we also have different contractual obligations with this asset that prevents us from maintaining it. For us, it's a very critical piece of infrastructure in our community, not only for recreation but also for tourism.
If you look at a map of Lake Superior, you see there's one key leg missing in going all around the lake to get fuel and safe berths, and that is Wawa. The whole north shore, except for Wawa, is essentially covered. There is a great deal of boat traffic and potential tourism traffic that we're missing out on. Part of that is because we're lacking the support or the resources to really get our facility running again, but we're not lacking the willingness to do so.
We've undertaken some investment, approximately $150,000 over the past three years, to address specific concerns at the marina. That's the municipality putting municipal tax dollars into a federally owned piece of infrastructure.
What we're essentially looking for in the recommendations we're making here is going to surround how we approach resources like this in the future. I think I speak for a couple of other municipal marinas around Lake Superior and in Ontario when I say these pieces of infrastructure that end up being extremely important to smaller, local communities like ours have essentially been left to rot. As we move forward and realize the importance of tourism to our communities, these pieces of infrastructure get more and more important as we try to diversify our economies.
Looking to the future, specifically in regard to the lease agreement, small craft harbours has actually been extremely helpful to us in pursuing divestiture. But this is where we're looking for a strategy and some funding to ensure that these resources can continue to operate in our communities. Our community, in particular, has decided that this resource is particularly important. We would like to continue to operate it. However, given the state of the resource and the lack of maintenance it has received over the past 10, 15, 20 years, we're in a situation where we cannot afford to take on this asset in its current state.
However, we would like to partner with both provincial and federal organizations to make sure we can continue to have this asset, not only for the betterment of our community but also for the betterment of our regional communities in trying to create that link between some of the northern and southern communities via Lake Superior.
In speaking with a couple of operators, boaters and within the municipality ourselves, we came up with some recommendations to small craft harbours that we would really like to see pursued. We believe that small craft harbours cannot just abandon these assets in their current conditions. So many of these assets are in such a state that no municipality of our size would ever be able to take them over, given how much liability is associated with the disrepair of these assets.
We believe there are really two options for these assets. The first one is that small craft harbours maintain these assets and upgrade them as necessary so the community can continue to use and benefit from them. The second is that small craft harbours provide some funding to these communities to ensure that we don't leave small municipalities with large liabilities.
We certainly appreciate the current process where you have essentially come to us and asked us for some recommendations, our opinion, and given us the ability to present on these topics, but we'd like to see a more developed process where local stakeholders are able to really give their input into small craft harbours when we're deciding the fate of these organizations.
I know that distance is often an issue. It's very difficult to come to all of these communities and talk to all of the people involved, so certainly, there can be a process developed that helps people get their input known and helps decide the future of these assets.
We also believe that municipalities have a role to play. We must also pursue small craft harbours if we want to continue to have these assets in this community, and that's what we've made efforts to do. I would applaud the small craft harbours staff. The ones I've dealt with over the past several years have been extremely sympathetic and helpful, but they're also aware of the resources that they have and they seem to be quite constrained by those resources. For small craft harbours to really do a proper job of off-loading these assets, if they've decided to off-load them, then it's key that, along with those assets comes a little bit of help from municipalities that wish to continue in their operation.
At the end of the day, we're looking for a holistic solution for our particular site that incorporates not only the recreational value of the site but also the understanding that there's a great deal of economic development that can be had, and not just from commercial harbours but from recreational harbours, as well, specifically, looking at tourism development. For our particular facility, we've talked to both provincial and federal partners to try to make sure that we can continue to operate this asset. The primary function that we really run into is the condition of the asset and how much capital investment it needs to really operate properly.
What we're really hoping to see come out of the recommendations of this particular panel is a really good funding model that understands that these assets have been under-maintained for a great deal of time and that needs to change one way or another and that not only the federal government needs to be at the table but the provinces and the local municipalities as well. They need to all come together at the table to make sure we continue to have these particular assets in our communities.
I appreciate your taking the time. We're open to any questions.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. T
hank you, witnesses, for appearing before us today to give us the benefit of your personal experiences from the communities in which you live, especially for you, Todd, since the region in which you live is vast, as you suggested. It's a pleasure to be here today to ask you a few questions.
Labrador has such a strong fishing industry with the engagement of your people in the fishing industry for a long time. One of the things that you made reference to was that you had received the announcement of $18.5 million in August, with seven harbours to be dealt with for the long term, but you referred to that as catch-up.
In Newfoundland and Labrador and around the country, many of us see that there is a lot of catching up to do. Do you have any suggestions for this committee or for government, as to how to try to accelerate that process, either through small craft harbour funding programs or...?
I also want to acknowledge our member of Parliament, Yvonne Jones, who made the announcement on the $18.5 million, over the last few weeks in some of our communities.
If you look at the map we drew showing where there are small craft harbours in Labrador, you see there are only a handful of them. The reason why we talked about the great fishery or marine resources off of Labrador is that these resources have had little fisheries development, and that I could attribute probably to quota allocations, to licensing, historically, and to the lack of participation of indigenous peoples in that. If you correlate that with the number of small craft harbours, which are supposed to support fisheries industry development—at least in our particular context, that's one of the primary reasons we have it—you can see how the two are together.
As to the lack of fisheries development, some of it comes down to access, licensing and these types of things, and how that correlates to what has been a lack of investment, historically, in small craft harbours in Labrador, in NunatuKavut and in Nunatsiavut in particular. You can see that correlation and I think that's important. That's one of the reasons why small craft harbours have had such a small impact in Labrador and a small investment overall.
There has been no specific process or negotiation regarding divestiture when it comes to small craft harbours and NunatuKavut Community Council.
I do know that sometimes we get consulted on divestiture plans around particular assets that might fall under small craft harbours or something like that, but that's about the size of it. We haven't really had a discussion about what the divestiture plans are for small craft harbours or how we might be involved, or not, in those particular plans.
I note that when you raised that issue, we talked about safe harbours. A lot of the safe harbours that we talk about are places where small craft harbours have had assets, or where they've had infrastructure. The nature of the fishery has changed, particularly with the closure of the cod fishery and now a move more to the offshore.
We're positing with this committee that small craft harbours should look at those particular assets, not totally with a view to divesting them but to asking whether we can maintain some of the infrastructure that provides a safe harbour and that is supportive of the fishing industry in the 21st century and where it's going to go in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Finnigan. That's very kind of you, and I appreciate it.
I want to welcome President Russell, Mr. Coombs and Mr. Patterson to the committee. Thank you for your presentations.
I have a couple of questions. I'm going to start with you, President Russell, because I think your area is very much representative of many northern areas across Canada where we've seen a lack of designation of small craft harbours. In your territory alone, of the eight small craft harbours, five have been designated in the last 10 years, and of those five, I think four have been designated just in the last few years. For the three outstanding, I reviewed them and the first investment in one of them was just last year.
I think that represents what we're seeing across the north, where many ports in many communities were not designated. Whether they didn't have the right number of fishers or didn't have the landing value, that should not have changed the fact that they were engaged in a commercial fishery in Canada and they should have been designated.
I have three questions for you, and you can answer them all together.
One, how should the Government of Canada be treating northern and indigenous regions that have been left behind in small craft harbour designations in the past?
Two, in areas where there are abandoned properties—and your area is one of those areas—I have noticed that the Government of Canada is contracting large amounts of money to dismantle certain properties. Should there also be other models whereby local groups can take those over and receive the funding to repurpose some of those facilities? That's just an option. I'm wondering what your opinion is on that.
Last, I know that in your region the landed value for communities is about $23 million annually. One would think it would be easy to generate revenue from that, but a lot of communities are isolated. It's very costly to operate those ports. What model could work in those communities to help support the small craft harbour committees and boards?
I just want to give a shout-out to our MP for the fine work that she has been doing with us and for us as well.
We thank you for those particular questions.
There has to be a different funding model and there must be a different approach, I think, to how investments are made. As you've indicated, the northern and indigenous communities should be looked at through a different lens. In the past, small craft harbour designations and small craft harbour investments have been tied to fisheries development. If there has been a lag in fisheries development, there's going to be a lag in small craft harbour infrastructure as well.
The committee needs to take that into account and small craft harbours need to take that into account when they're looking at future investments, because at the same time.... We all say that if you're at a level of investment and you do the same level, you're always going to be behind. There's going to have to be a model that takes into account the history and then provides for some boosting in terms of investment.
From a northern indigenous perspective, I think that needs to be taken into account. It needs to be taken into account in the context of overall fisheries development. Why can't small craft harbours also be a leader in fisheries development and not just a follower of fisheries development? That might be another way to look at it and to approach how small craft harbours make their investments.
In terms of abandoned properties, obviously I think there needs to be a very intentional process that involves indigenous governance bodies in terms of any type of dismantling or divestiture. This does affect land. It does or can affect water rights, we feel. At the same time, we need to be talking about the issue of repurposing. If that is allowable, or if there need to be changes in policy that allow for repurposing, I think that needs to be looked at by this committee. We've discussed with and other committee members the need to look at the concept of safe harbours, where some current infrastructure might exist and how that can be repurposed or upgraded.
In terms of landed value, that $23 million might sound like a big number, but when you start to take it down to the community level there's very little opportunity to generate. That is the value, basically, of what a fisher is getting. You have a processor. The fishers go to the wharf and sell their product, and that is the landed value, but that will not generate enough money for even the administration and the ongoing maintenance—such as paying the light bills or doing some basic maintenance work—of any of the small craft harbours that I'm aware of in our particular territory.
There has to be a different way. Again, we're saying that because of capacity issues, the nature of the fishery, the low value in terms of landings in some of these communities and the small amount of traffic, you're going to have to look at a model that invests in what we would call core funding, or some kind of a fund that helps these volunteer boards actually run the harbours themselves. I think that needs to be certainly considered and needs to form part of the recommendations of this committee.
Certainly, they could form part of the conversation that we would have with the Government of Canada—and, in some instances, with the government of a particular province or territory—about how self-government manifests itself.
Do we, as an indigenous organization, want to have a conversation with small craft harbours about divestiture or about actually taking over all of these small craft harbours? Then, of course, there will have to be some intense talk about liabilities and assets, and maintaining them going forward—those types of considerations.
That could form part of our talks and negotiations with the Government of Canada. That is possible. Certainly, again, we would have to talk about sustainability, at least from our vantage point, from an indigenous government vantage point.
Those things are possible, I think. Maybe there are other ways, in terms of partnerships over time or in terms of governance and ownership, that we can also address.
Good afternoon. First I would like to thank Mr. Chairman and the honourable members for giving me the opportunity to speak here today. I am presenting on behalf of fellow committee member Osborne Burke, who is unavailable to attend today.
My name is Tim Wentzell. I am a commercial fisherman from the south shore of Nova Scotia. I've been president of my harbour authority for 25 years. I have also been an elected member of the Maritimes and gulf harbour authority advisory committee for 12 years, and a member of the national harbour authority advisory committee for seven years.
My family has fished for generations, and I currently fish from the same wharf in the same community as my father and grandfather did. The future of wharves in coastal Canada is a topic that is very important to me, very close to my heart. I take pride in volunteering and helping to manage the ongoing issues.
I will now make mention of the document we submitted to the committee for review.
The national harbour authority advisory committee is a national advisory group that provides advice to small craft harbours. Fifteen volunteer representatives make up the group from all five DFO regions in Canada. Meetings are once a year in person and ongoing conferences calls when needed. We represent 565 harbour authorities across the country with a network of 5,000 volunteers.
The harbour authority model is very successful, largely due to the hard work of the volunteers in these communities. As successful as the program has been, we do have our challenges. One of them is that our structures are aging and getting older. My particular wharf was built in 1948, so it was post-war. It's outlived its lifespan. We're still using it. It's still functional, but it's getting tired. There are many facilities like that around the country in the same state.
Overcrowding at different harbours is another one of our concerns, because a lot of these wharves, like I said, were built post-war and they were designed for the fishing fleet of the day. The fishing fleet nowadays is considerably larger. The vessels are a lot larger and a lot wider. The current vessel compared to that from that time period back in the 1950s to now, fishing the same licence, would take up three times the area inside the harbour basin.
The growing aquaculture industry is also putting an amount of strain on the small craft harbours program.
Climate change is another issue. With storms increasing and water temperature rising, the frequency of storms in coastal areas and the impact they have on the infrastructure is quite noticeable. Any new structure and any existing repairs have to be built higher because of rising water levels, and that is another increased cost.
The increased cost around regularly scheduled maintenance dredging is another one of our concerns. Currently, $8.6 million is spent on maintenance dredging, which is far less than what is required. The small craft harbours program estimates that $21 million per year would be a more sufficient fund to do the maintenance dredging.
All of these add up to one big safety concern.
The next thing is the A-base and B-base funding for small craft harbours. A-base funding has remained relatively stable since 2007-08. Small craft harbours received a permanent A-base increase in 2007-08 of $20 million with B-base funding under 13 different programs since 2000-01. The program needed B-base funding to carry on the ongoing operations. Since 2007, small craft harbours' purchasing power has been greatly diminished by regulatory inflationary pressures. Without an A-base increase, the program will require future infusions of B-base funds to remain sustainable.
Regarding divestitures, because small craft harbours' mandate is to support a core group of commercial fishing harbours, the program can't sustain all the harbours. Some of the non-core harbours have been divested. Eleven hundred non-core harbours have been divested, but 330 still remain in inventory. Small craft harbours do not have dedicated funding for these sites. Without dedicated funding for divestiture, there is pressure put on the core harbours and the small craft harbours program. Continued deterioration leads to increased liabilities, etc.
The small craft harbours program is there to meet the principal and evolving needs of the commercial fishery. The program supports a wide range of successful harbour authorities in coastal communities across the country, with a network of safe, accessible harbours in good working condition. Investments at small craft harbours support economic growth in the fishing industry and the surrounding communities.
If there are any further things you want to get into, you can refer to the brief we submitted. A lot more detailed information is there.
Thank you for giving me time to express our concerns.
Chairman and committee, thank you for inviting me.
I'm a member of the Pacific regional harbour authority advisory committee. I've been the local, elected rural area representative. I'm not a fisherman, but I've served on the harbour authority since 2007 and on PRHAAC since 2010.
As a bit of background on the Pacific region, the 105 small craft harbours in B.C. are managed by 54 harbour authorities. We're obviously a member of the NHAAC hub. In B.C., there are more than 500 volunteers involved with the harbour authority program. It provides 200 to 300 ongoing permanent jobs and temporary jobs. Many of them are in small communities and they're absolutely necessary.
In B.C., our harbours serve the most diverse client group anywhere in the national program, including 80% of the commercial fleet, aquaculture, recreational fishing charters, first nations and tourism, and they're at the centre of many communities.
In terms of significant economic benefits, the Gislason report of 2015 indicated that every dollar spent on small craft harbours in the B.C. region returned $52 in economic benefits. More recently, the B.C. wild and farmed seafood production reports for 2016 gave a total landed value of $1.17 billion and a wholesale value of $1.72 billion. It's made up of a commercial fishery of $840 million and aquaculture of $881 million. This was up 23% over 2015. Obviously that $52 return for every dollar has increased.
They provide year-round operations in many of the remote communities, and a very strong environmental focus. In many cases, the harbour authorities are the first responders and suppliers of local knowledge for all events.
As just a bit about infrastructure and budgets, obviously my predecessor speaker here defined virtually everything, but the Pacific region infrastructure replacement value is $291 million. We have carrying costs of $31 million and the annual A-base budget is around $10 million.
The federal infusion of funds in initiatives one and two and the 2018 budget recently are much appreciated. It has helped us greatly in allowing catch-up on aging and overdue infrastructure maintenance and repairs.
There are challenges with a B-base budget. They're greatly appreciated funds and obviously much needed. Basically, we have a lot of things to consider. Consultations need to be completed with first nations, with short time frames. Stress is placed on small craft harbours, their staff and the volunteers on harbour authorities to complete all the work in the accelerated times. Also, this type of funding program puts continuous stress on harbour authorities to have a suite of shovel-ready projects with completed business cases and at least preliminary engineering, but sometimes even more detailed engineering. This stress is both due to the time effort required and the financial load on harbour authorities with funds that could be used for operations.
I want to stress that we want the fund to continue, but perhaps there's a better way of setting up the programs. A longer heads-up that these things are coming certainly would help. I understand that current funding levels are insufficient to support the amount of infrastructure as mentioned. We work on divestiture, but it must be balanced with the needs of the fishing industry. Some of the conversations are difficult to have.
The biggest concern we have here is dredging. Dredging has become more and more challenging. We're faced with the fact that it's absolutely necessary for some of our harbours, a lot of major harbours, including our largest harbour in Steveston.
Disposal of the dredge material has been the key issue, and we understand it's more difficult environmentally. We want to protect the environment. We all live in coastal communities and place great value on protecting the natural environment and these species, but we need to find a balance, perhaps by designating some disposal sites and doing an initial—thorough—environmental assessment. Thereafter, we would do a more streamlined assessment for the same locations so as to retain their inherent value and not repeat the work already done.
In B.C., first nations reconciliation is a big thing. Most first nations in B.C. don't have treaties, and there are 200 first nations. Significant efforts are made. The Harbour Authority Association of B.C. has been going out and visiting the first nations that are considering becoming harbour authorities and has provided mentoring sessions on what's involved. This has been valuable. I see that DFO has supported this. Right now, there are two first nations with the harbour authority association, and six first nations are currently in discussions. We see this as very positive. I could tell you about personal experiences but I'm going to run out of time.
I want to summarize the asks that are inherent in what I have proposed. First, obviously, is help in establishing a dredging material disposal system. It's absolutely critical here.
We want help with funding program process design to minimize the load on harbour authorities for achieving shovel-ready project status before applications can be considered, and we want the time frames relaxed.
We want help in maintaining consistency in the relationship with volunteer harbour authorities. They contribute much, and for them, the relationship is everything. We really depend on these volunteers to provide the services to the community.
We want help with increasing understanding—amongst this committee and others—that many of the harbours provide services to a fishing community that extends far beyond those fishers who moor at our harbours. It provides all services, including loading and unloading and stopovers with sporadic openings. They're absolutely critical, and they're not all the moorage customers.
Thank you very much for listening. I'll take any questions.
When we've talked to a number of others, we've heard the concerns you've just mentioned. These are significant investments for fishermen to invest in these $1-million or $2-million boats, or more. Of course, they're getting larger, but the infrastructure designed to keep them safe isn't keeping up with the investment the fishermen are making in their vessels. That has been one of the questions I've been asking. How can the small craft harbours program recognize this and keep up?
Mr. Wentzell, you identified many of the concerns we'd heard from a lot of HAs across the country. You talked about aging wharfs and infrastructure, overcrowding, climate change and growing aquaculture, and you really emphasized dredging. You also talked about safety, A-base funding and non-core harbours.
Mr. Mauro, as well as the dredging, you talked about the design process, the relationship with volunteer HAs and understanding the larger role the HAs play in the community. We heard these mentioned in the field as well.
This is for both of you, particularly Mr. Wentzell from a national perspective. This was in earlier questioning and you may not have it, but I'm wondering if there's a document or a study available. Knowing what the collective financial needs are to bring all the harbours across the country up to a recognizable standard—so in terms of the operational shortfall and the capital needs—has there been a study done in the past, or is there one currently happening?
I have to say, Mr. Wentzell, the document you provided is very helpful. It provides a lot of the financial picture of harbour authorities and what they're facing, but I'm wondering about a collective approach. If the government were to look at a 10-year program to tackle the problem of the financial needs of small craft harbours across the country, can it point to a document that explains what we're currently operating under, the organizational shortfall and the capital needs? Given the concerns you've identified, limited tax dollars of course, and some of the challenges like climate change or—as we just mentioned—indigenous relations and talks with our first nations, and of course factoring in divestiture with non-core facilities....
I guess that's a long-winded question. Is there such a document or a study that's happened, that you know of, that the committee could look at?