New gateway markers welcome visitors to Balfour
The Balfour and District Business and Historic Association have unveiled two monuments marking the east and west entrances to Balfour. The markers are the group’s Canada 150 commemorative project. Truus Zelonka, member of the Board of Directors of the BDBHA, has led the project from its inception to its completion.
The signs pay tribute to the importance of Kootenay Lake to the historic, cultural and economic development of Balfour and the Kootenay Outlet area.
According to Zelonka, “The lake is a vital element in our lives and has been since our original First Nations inhabitants came here to hunt, fish and camp on its shores.”
Today’s bustling village of Balfour, whose thriving economy relies principally on tourism and year-round outdoor recreation, including world-class golfing and fishing, has been home to the western terminus for Kootenay Lake ferries since the 1947 launch of the MV Anscomb. The ferries, operated today by Western Pacific Marine, still provide the link between the east and west shores of Kootenay Lake and provide employment to many residents of the Outlet, carrying thousands of vehicles and passengers from around the world every year.
The graphics on the signs feature the various modes of transportation through the years, from the unique sturgeon-nosed canoe of the Ktunaxa people, to the SS Nasookin (1913 – 1947), and MV Anscomb (1947 – 2000), while today’s MV Osprey 2000 is represented by an Osprey in flight. Also featured are a golfer and a leaping Gerrard Rainbow trout.
The project was funded by the BDBHA, Columbia Basin Trust, Regional District of Central Kootenay Area ‘E‘, and the Province of British Columbia through British Columbia / Canada 150: Celebrating British Columbia’s Communities and their Contributions to Canada Grant Program, with material and technical support from Nelson Redi Mix, Balfour Towing, and redFISH Design.
“Many drivers rush to make the next ferry crossing and don’t realize they have arrived in Balfour and can relax, slow down and protect our residents,” said Zelonka, adding she hopes the entrance markers will reduce speeding.
“We hope this will bring an added measure of safety to our pedestrians, cyclists, pets and other drivers.”
Photo Caption: Rolling out the Welcome Sign are, from left, BDBHA Directors Glen Konowalchuck, Ben Martin, Truus Zelonka, RDCK Area ‘E’ Director Ramona Faust, BDBHA Directors Glenn Loeppky, Janice Cooper, Margaret Gray and BDBHA President Randy Zelonka. Missing: BDBHA Directors Josh Smienk and Gary McCandlish.