This is an open and heartfelt letter to all long time Kootenay folk and the many newcomers from all over the world who have been drawn here, attracted by this beautiful and dare I say it, sacred land.
I have lived on the shores of Kootenay Lake for 41 years and have never written to the newspaper, but these are serious times, and I feel compelled to.
We have just been informed that the government is offering us a community forum to educate us of their plans and to give our feedback about moving the Balfour ferry terminal to a new site in Queens Bay.
They say “the continued safe and efficient operation of our inland ferry is extremely important to our government and to the travellers who rely on it.” Instead, I say “the continued pleasant and carefree enjoyment of our lake by locals who live here and rely on it.” (Feel free to read “freedom to float in the tender caress of our mother’s arms.”)
In the stern voice of the government, they say “the issues require action.” Instead I say “wait a minute, the issue requires reflection, a deep breath, a moment to look around at what we have here.”
They say “the changing lakebed is the key challenge we have to address.” Instead I say “address the lakebed, why undress the shoreline?”
They say “traffic volumes can slow unloading of vehicles.” Instead I say “slow down, drive slower, enjoy the scenery.”
They say “improvement in risk profile for the Kootenay lake ferry service.” Instead I say “awareness of the risk to Kootenay Lake and the generations to come who will hopefully have something to love.”
From the bygone ladies in crinolines and parasols aboard the sternwheelers to the bikinis and bermudas of today’s paddle boarders, kayakers and jet skis, this bay has provided the warmest waters to bathe in. Whether you are topless or suited this is the only free and open lake access to all Kootenay residents.
Come here and see for yourselves before it’s too late. Sit with a grasshopper and bobber at McEwan point in August hoping for a rainbow. Look longingly at the sun of Creston shining below the cloud bank on a cloudy day. Enjoy the fall mists and the fog horns as they send a warning at the mouth of the arm. Come soon, before we have a Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay of the bureaucrats’ making.
And let the men with their pens and calculators in Victoria know that what we have here is priceless and timeless and sacred. You could travel the world and never see anything anywhere as beautiful, clean, and so damn pretty as we have here
Please, I implore you. We can stop this. (The Berlin Wall seemed cast in stone, but little people with little hammers chipped away and gave feedom to many.) I keep saying “I say” but if “we say” they just might stop and listen.
Mick Collier, Queens Bay