LeLacheur said he hadn’t been to his boat for about five or six days when a friend called him last week (June 20) and told him he should go down to see what happened to his boat.
That’s when LeLacheur found the rust all over it.
“I was pretty disgusted,” he said.
The problem seems to have started within the last two weeks as construction on the new convention centre continued on the property next to the Peakes Wharf marina. Crews have been driving pilings into the ground, sending dust and tiny bits of metal into the air where they eventually settled on neighbouring boats at the marina.
Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (CADC), which is building the convention centre, confirmed at least five boat owners complained about the dust damaging their boats.
LeLacheur said he had the same problem last year when rust from the seawall at the construction site left him with a $6,700 bill to clean his boat using a degreaser acid.
That process compromised the vinyl on his boat, which meant he couldn’t do the same thing this year and left him only one option, LeLacheur said.
“Replace all the vinyl.”
A quick survey of LeLacheur’s boat shows the impact the dust is having.
Strips of vinyl along the decking have tiny brown marks scattered across their surfaces while a vinyl covering on the roof and part of the deck look dingy and dirty.
LeLacheur said they were bright white a few weeks ago and whatever blew over from the construction site won’t wash off because it embedded in the vinyl.
The boat’s hull is made of wood, which LeLacheur said he will have to sand, strip and re-paint.
Although he didn’t know how much it was all going to cost, LeLacheur estimated it would be about $10,000, including a $500 deductible he will still have to pay if his insurance covers the work.
LeLacheur said there is more dust on the boat every day and while CADC is going to put a fence around the construction site to help avoid further problems, it’s not enough.
“That doesn’t help the fact of the mess they made,” he said.
CADC general manager Ron Waite said the assumption is the problem has to do with the pile driving, which will be done this week.
The fence will also likely be covered to try and reduce the amount of material blowing off site, although the fence isn’t in response to the situation with the boats, he said.
“It would have been part of the normal construction process that we were doing it.”
Waite said the construction management company overseeing the project used a white sheet at the marina to see if it would collect any of the material blowing over from the construction site.
The test sheet was clean, he said.
Waite said with a major construction site next to the marina, CADC will do its best to prevent dust and other things from leaving the site.
“There’s only so much you can do to prevent it.”