LETTER: Keep the fight going on Balfour Ferry

From reader Melanie Harper...

As I write this letter, we have just three weeks until the BC Government ends the public consultation process regarding the proposed ferry terminal move from Balfour to Queens Bay.

That’s not much time, but it is how much time the government originally slotted for public input back in June. The deadline was extended because in that first three week period, the community banded together and gathered over 3,000 signatures opposing the plan. It was impressive.

And the effort continues. I am proud of the people of my community, for their level of professionalism and organization, creative thinking and willingness to stand up for what’s important to them. I work at the ferry landing and have for many years. I’ve talked with lots of locals and tourists this summer about this issue and the overwhelming majority think it’s a bad idea.

I have been asked countless times, “Why would they want to move it?” To answer this, I usually say something like, “That’s what we are all wondering.”

There are some legitimate issues to be addressed at the existing terminal, but there are better solutions to the issues raised than this illogical plan that has so many flaws.

The idea of importing 90,000 cubic meters of fill to one of the most beautiful, wild and accessible lakeshore spots is a good enough reason to oppose this plan. Environmentally, there is nothing that makes sense.

To imagine Balfour becoming a slab of unused pavement and the businesses suffering might move a person to say ‘no thanks’ to this plan. Economically, it makes more sense to save millions of dollars by revamping the existing terminal instead of moving it; keeping the village vibrant and bringing in future tourist/tax dollars too.

In my opinion, the plan and their reasoning for it don’t add up. So to answer the why question? I think about this…they can’t move ahead with downstream projects that would affect the lake level as long as the ferry remains in the West Arm channel.

If you were opposed to dredging Grohman Narrows, please stand up for keeping the ferry in Balfour. If you value Kootenay Lake as a natural resource worth protecting, remember October 6 is the last day for your views to be officially heard on this matter. There is a government survey and local petition online. Please tell everyone.

Melanie Harper

Balfour

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