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Nelson-based dock for Grohman residents a necessity, but too costly: report

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
June 27th, 2022

Capital cost considerations could outstrip the reach of a project to construct a docking facility for a North Shore, largely boat access community, a regional district feasibility study revealed.

The gap between what the owners of 57 parcels of land in the Grohman Creek neighbourhood — located on the north side of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in Electoral Area F — can afford to pay annually compared to what the $1.73-million project could cost per year is wide.

The lowest annualized cost (per household, per year) was estimated to be $2,000, and the highest could be up to $5,000. However, the Grohman Creek Docking Society (GCDS) indicated that anything beyond $1,200 per year would be cost prohibitive for the majority of households.

In a report to the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) board on the matter, planner Corey Scott said due to the cost limitations three other potential partnership opportunities were identified and preliminary conversations have taken place.

“The results of the final memo will be presented to the GCDS, and coordinating any of the partnership opportunities outlined in the memo are the responsibility of the GCDS,” he explained in the report.

The GCDS came to the RDCK board of directors looking for more accessible facilities on the Nelson side of the lake.

With the City of Nelson underway with the reconstruction of a new Hall Street pier, Grohman residents’ ability to use Nelson-side facilities will be affected — with the current pier proposal not allowing for motorized boat parking.

There are also health and safety concerns over the existing Grohman accesses, with road access not available year-round for emergency vehicles and the current dock configuration not practical for emergency response for Grohman residents.

Although the dock and the launch site on the Grohman side is adequate, the Nelson-side facilities are less well-defined.

Scott said people use whatever facilities are available to them, primarily at the Prestige Lakeside Resort, Kootenay Lake Launch Club and Hall Street pier.

“Spaces at the Prestige and Launch Club are limited and those who do not have access to them rely on the Hall Street pier on an ad hoc basis,” he said. 

According to the study conducted by Urban Systems Ltd. for the GCDS four potential sites were identified for further discussion: Lakeside Drive; Jorgenson Road; Second Street; and Sproat Drive. All four sites presented challenges that limited their feasibility and there was no one clear choice.

The Nelson sites

The key findings of Urban Systems Ltd.’s feasibility study were as follows:

1. Despite there being four potential sites identified for further discussion and analysis, only 70 Lakeside Drive (the old transfer station) was identified as the preferred site by the GCDS. However, the site as a docking facility was deemed unlikely due to several factors:

• the potential to have to remediate the site under the B.C. Contaminated Sites Regulation;

• misalignment with the City of Nelson’s Sustainable Waterfront and Downtown Master Plan; and

• potential additional costs for environmental investigation and permitting on the site.

2. The remaining three sites — Jorgenson Road, Second St. and Sproat Drive — present challenges that limit their feasibility due to:

• increased exposure to wind and wave action and the need to construct a breakwater;

• more dangerous navigation due to the increased exposure to weather during a longer commute; and

• uncertainty of whether other existing uses will conflict with a docking facility.

Source: Urban Systems Ltd.

Looking at Grohman

The Grohman Creek neighbourhood (referred to as Grohman) is located on the north side of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in Electoral Area F, just east of Grohman Narrows.

There are approximately 57 properties in the area with residents living there on both a year-round and part-time basis, and Baldface Lodge uses Grohman infrastructure (dock and road access) for its operations.

Grohman can be accessed from Marsden Road/Grohman Creek Forest Service Road (FSR) and Boven Road (commonly referred to as CBC Tower Road) for part of the year, and by boat year-round for members of the GCDS.

The GCDS was established in 1990 to provide a docking service to Grohman residents to help alleviate the access challenges to the area. The GCDS is responsible for the Grohman-side docking facilities, which currently consist of a 28-slip dock, south-facing breakwater and a small parking area.

Source: RDCK staff report

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