Today’s Poll

Boat launch for Taghum/Blewett area still years away

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
September 19th, 2018

It appears proponents of a new boat launch on the shores of Kootenay River 10 kilometers west of Nelson in the Taghum/Blewett area are facing a “hurry up and wait” scenario following a meeting Monday at Blewett Elementary School.

While consultants released findings from a feasibility study regarding construction locations, narrowing sites down to three, any shovels in the ground appear to be years away.

“Picking the actual site . . . where it will happen, and if it can happen, is the next step for us in this process, and it looks like we’re getting closer to that,” said Beasley resident Jamie Gavin following the meeting.

“Then we can start fundraising to help push this project along,” he added.”

Consultants for the Regional District of Central Kootenay, WSP Engineering, explained to a room full of concerned citizens the three proposed sites after information was gathered to conduct a feasibility study following a meeting in November.

Also, at the meeting were representatives from the RDCK and Teck along with Area Directors Tom Newell and Ramona Faust.

The three proposed locations included the Southeast Bridge Abutment of the old Taghum Bridge, Fisherman’s Point and Kenville Tailings Area.

Estimated price tag for the three shortlisted sites:

  • Southeast Bridge Abutment – $710,000
  • Fisherman’s Point — $738,000
  • Kenville Tailings Area — $860,000

After few hours of discussion, it appeared the Kenville Tailings Area — an area Teck in Trail has on the radar to being planning for reclamation — and the Southeast Bridge Abutment were the two locations of choice.

Fisherman’s Point was removed from the list after it was revealed at the meeting that Teck was not interested in releasing the land at the end of Fisherman’s Pit Road to the public.

However, at the Southeast Bridge Abutment location consultants identified First Nations archaeological sites on the land, which could potential delay the process as well as increase costs.

This left the Kenville Tailings Area as potentially the best location for the project that would be managed, constructed and maintained by the RDCK.

But a Teck spokesperson attending the meeting said planning for reclaiming the land won’t begin until the start of 2019, putting any potential start of construction for a boat launch in the area on hold until the mining giant completes the project.

“I really do think the boating community needs to organize themselves and look at these two options,” Faust explained.

Faust said it’s up to the community to decide the best location but admitted the Kenville Mines appeared to be the best location.

“A good portion of the work — the permitting, First Nations consultation — would all be done by Teck because they have to do it to complete their project,” said Faust.

Faust said if the Southeast Bridge Abutment was chosen as the location, the Regional District would be starting on its own.

“We would need to get information from Teck and then also retaining our own consultants to push through the archaeological study as well consult with ministry of environment water management branch,” Faust explained.

“We would be contracting another company to do that as we don’t have that expertise in house at the RDCK,” she added.

Faust said the RDCK will enter into discussions with Teck regarding planning process for reclaiming the Kenville Tailings Area.

However, reiterated that the RDCK will not fully proceed until it has solid community support.

“The thing we do need is clear support from the community,” Faust said. “The (RDCK) board at this point is not taking on new projects without having a stewardship group, and without having solid community support. So, for this project to go forward, supporters are going to have to be out in the community selling this site and selling the project as a whole.”

This is something supporters, who know a boat launch can also be used by first responders needing to get onto the lake to potentially save lives, totally understand.

“This is not just the 30-40 people we had here at the meeting, there’s 500-person petition that people signed in favour of a boat launch in this area,” Gavin said.

“And many of those who signed are people who live down here but don't have a boat but do realize the importance of needing a boat launch for not only Taghum/Blewett and Bonnington.

“It's for everyone.”

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