A recent news release reports that dredging of Kootenay Lake will occur from Sept. 24 to Nov. 30, six days a week from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with night operations possible.
This is major dredging as opposed to earlier reports of minor dredging to improve ferry access to Balfour on the West Arm.
Major dredging can only adversely affect already fragile West Arm fishing. Has there been a proper review of the consequences? What will dumping the enormous volume of dredged material in the main lake do?
In 2016 the Ministry of Transportation, after careful research, planned to move the terminal from Balfour to Queens Bay.
This would make the Kootenay Lake ferry similar to the Galena Bay to Shelter Bay ferry on Highway 23 north of Nakusp — only one ferry with 20-minute trips giving hourly service. Cutting the Kootenay Lake ferry trip from 35 minutes to 20 or less would save enormous amounts of fuel and time.
Balfour businesses and Queens Bay NIMBYs were somehow able in 2016 to achieve a political decision to keep the terminal at Balfour assisted by a $9,500 grant from the Regional District of Central Kootenay. This with little input sought from those who actually use the ferry.
To those who actually use the ferry daily for their livelihood, this wasteful and environmentally dangerous dredging makes no sense whatsoever. Even the ferry crews are against their ships entering the West Arm because it is often congested with boats, the operators of which don’t realize the ferry can’t stop for them.