Ken Forde boat ramp will close to boaters for seven months each year.
Council voted Tuesday night to only operate the free, public boat launch from May 1-Sept. 30 to avoid having to deal with winter storms that leave the ramp littered with debris.
“It’s unfortunate we have to entertain some part of closure at all but with the reality of some of the conditions the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) placed upon us, the recommendation brought to us (to close Ken Forde through the winter) is the best scenario,” said Coun. Andy Adams at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
DFO’s conditions include not allowing the city to clear and then stockpile material until the city is ready to relocate it to another site.
However, Ross Milnthorp, the city’s manager of parks, recreation and culture, said DFO seems willing to reconsider that stipulation.
If that happens, Milnthorp said Ken Forde could be cleared on an as-needed basis during the annual operating period. If the city is not able to negotiate temporary sediment storage into a Memorandum of Understanding with DFO, city staff will recommend Ken Forde be closed permanently, Milnthorp said.
He’s hopeful an agreement with DFO can be reached by the end of the year that would allow the city to pre-determine where material from the boat launch will be re-located. Material that gets hung up at the boat launch can then be used to renourish eroded sections of the foreshore.
Meanwhile, the city’s other public boat lau nch will be getting a makeover.
City staff will soon begin the design process for an upgrade to the Big Rock Boat Launch.
The city plans on spending $70,000, to be taken out of the Parks Parcel Tax, for the design of an upgrade to the boat launch.
The intent is to begin construction in 2012.
As part of the upgrade process, city council voted Tuesday night to include a comprehensive public consultation component.
Upgrades could include: deepening the existing launch basin, improvements to the seaside bulkheads, storm water control structures, area lighting for security and early morning and late evening ramp users and public washrooms and a fish cleaning station.