MOTI listens to Queens Bay Residents, extends consultation period
Queens Bay Residents have been given a bit of wiggle room in their quest to halt the moving of the Balfour Ferry Terminal to the Queens Bay North location.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure sent out a media release saying the “ministry is extending the public consultation period to October 6th, 2016.”
“Needless to say this is good news and a huge relief for Kootenay Lake, in particular Balfour and Queens Bay residents and businesses,” said John Betts of the Queens Bay Residents Association.
“We asked our government from the outset to give us a consultation process commensurate with the serious consequences of considering the future location of the Kootenay Lake ferry west terminal.”
“Minister Stone has heard and respected our concerns,” Betts added.
“He has also restored confidence in our government’s commitment to listen to and work with the communities affected.”
More than 300 people attended the Open House June 15th at Redfish Elementary School to listen to ministry proposals to address those challenges at the Balfour Ferry Terminal by considering improvements to the current facility or the relocation of the ferry terminal to the Queens Bay area.
During the Open House, the public was asked to fill out surveys to help MOTI with the decision-making process.
The MOTI also asked the public to complete the online survey, which had a deadline of July 6, 2016.
Project Manager Mike Hallas said in the release that local input is a major consideration for the ministry to assess the options.
“We have received significant feedback and appreciate the communities’ engagement and participation in this process,” Hallas said.
“If you haven’t taken the time or opportunity to fill in the online survey, please do so at the following link: www.gov.bc.ca/balfourterminal
Betts said the extension will allow residents the opportunity to work with the MOTI and assist them in arriving at a solution that works for the best interests of all parties.
“In particular we feel this gives real relief to our local businesses who we all appreciate for what they bring to community in terms of jobs and amenities,” Betts said.
“They now can focus more this summer on the businesses they have built up around the growing tourist industry here in the West Kootenay.”
Betts said the announcement comes just as the Queens Bay Residents Association and the Balfour Ferry Landing Business Coalition gathered close to 3000 signatures, online and in writing, on a petition supporting keeping the ferry terminal in Balfour.
“Signatories include locals, tourists and West Kootenay expatriates and friends around the world,” Betts said.
“In our opinion there is broad support for redesigning the current facility and leaving Queens Bay alone as a popular recreational area and an exceptional part of Kootenay Lake.”
The Queens Bay Residents Association have also called on elected officials to designate the proposed Queens Bay North site area a regional park.