OUR VIEW: What to do about boat ramps?

Perhaps we need a public boat ramp strategy

The Ken Forde Ramp is closed once again while the city pursues permission from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to remove gravel and debris from the boat launch.

While the foreshore is finally receiving its due as a sensitive habitat vis a vis the impacts imposed on it via development, we wonder if this might be going a little overboard. The ramp was closed earlier this year while a plan was worked out to find a place to take the debris built up during wave action on the shoreline. The beach is correctly being seen now as habitat and not just a border between land and sea. The removal and deposition of material is not being done with callous disregard for impact on the environment as has been the practice here and elsewhere in the past.

So, while the “red tape” is undoubtedly frustrating to boaters and city staff, it demonstrates a justifiable sensitivity. The city is developing a long term foreshore strategy to naturalize the waterfront as much as possible.

Our past practices of building on the foreshore and barricading it with tons of rip-rap have become obsolete. We stand to inherit a natural and living shoreline as a consequence. One benefit will be the positive impact on salmon, which is certainly not lost on the residents of this community.

Perhaps these boat ramps need to be revisited as a concept. Should we have them on the foreshore – on the outer shoreline, at the very least? Heresy? Some will see it as such.

Boaters and anglers are seen as an economic benefit to the community and residents see the free ramps almost as a God-given right. But times change and new ideas are needed.

Should taxpayers’ dollars go towards maintenance of free boat ramps? User-pay? Is there somewhere else that can accommodate access to the water?

Time to ask questions. Do we want to hear the answers?

– Campbell River Mirror

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