City to fund boat ramp improvements

City council has endorsed a plan that would see the city move forward on improvements to the Big Rock Boat Ramp as early as next year.

The project has been on council’s radar for several years but has yet to come to fruition because the city has been waiting on financial help from other levels of government.

But so far, said Ross Milnthorp, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture, several applications for external funding have all been unsuccessful.

City staff is now recommending the city go it alone and come up with the funding itself.

Council has already budgeted $500,000 of city money – $250,000 from the Capital Lending Reserve and $250,000 from the Parks Capital Reserve – towards the project for 2016. The city was hoping a $500,000 Canada 150 grant application would be successful but Milnthorp said city staff have yet to hear back.

He suggested the city use its own money to make up the remainder for 2017. A potential source, according to Milnthorp, could be $599,000 that may be released from the Ostler Park project which city staff is recommending be temporarily put on hold until long-term downtown flooding solutions can be found.

At council’s last Committee of the Whole meeting, council voted to split the boat launch project into two phases – with phase one consisting of all in-water works such as replacing the ramp, dredging of the basin upgrades and relocating the two protective rock groin structures. Phase two would include all upland works such as upgrades to the parking lot, lighting, washrooms and a fish cleaning station.

Council also endorsed initiating construction of phase one in 2017, at a cost of $1.1 million, using solely city money.

Milnthorp said breaking the project up allows the city to move in a timely fashion on the in-water works, which must align with the lowest tides of the season and are subject to Fisheries Legislation, while it delays the above-ground works so that they can be integrated into future Highway 19A upgrades.

“Initiating completion of phase one in 2017 will provide the upgrades necessary to significantly improve the functionality of the site,” Milnthorp wrote in a report to council. “Upgrading and enlargement of the rock groins will provide protection for the basin and should reduce the need for maintenance of the basin.

“Phase one will include construction of a new concrete boat ramp including piers for boaters to secure their boat while parking or retrieving their trailer.”

The boat ramp has been a source of contention for years.

Last year, avid fisherman Mike Gage told council that the boat ramp is woefully inadequate for launching at most stages of the tide.

“It requires a float to the south side of it so most people can stand, hang on to their boats after they launch them, then hang on to them again when they’re waiting for a trailer,” Gage said at the time. “There’s nothing there, so they have to stand up to their knees in water. It’s pretty crude.”

Coun. Michele Babchuk told Gage she could understand first-hand what he was talking about.

“I’m one of the fair weather fishermen that tags along with her husband on good days and stands up to her knees trying to get into her boat at Big Rock Boat Launch,” she said.

The city’s hope is to have phase one of the boat launch upgrades complete prior to June of 2017 when peak season begins.

Just Posted

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the North Island-Powell River riding

In an effort to inform the North Island-Powell River riding constituents, we… Continue reading

New initiative challenges Campbell Riverites: ‘Don’t walk in the hallways’

Physical literacy is the foundation upon which healthy living is built … and it’s important to practice

Campbell River’s POTA is looking forward to an artsy autumn

Group’s major fundraiser and extravaganza hits Tidemark Theatre Oct. 5

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Emoni Bush scores tournament-high 18 points in loss to Bulgaria

Campbell Riverite and Team Canada to play Thailand tomorrow for shot at 13th place at U18 worlds

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

Most Read