Western Pacific Marine wants to build the new Kootenay Lake ferry on this private property next to John’s Walk in Nelson. Photo: Tyler Harper

Western Pacific Marine wants to build the new Kootenay Lake ferry on this private property next to John’s Walk in Nelson. Photo: Tyler Harper

Proposal to build new Kootenay Lake ferry in Nelson

The plan is already receiving pushback from nearby residents

The company in charge of building the new Kootenay Lake ferry wants to assemble it on Nelson’s shore.

Western Pacific Marine, which has been contracted by the province to construct the $62.9-million replacement of the MV Balfour, has requested a two-year temporary use-permit from the City of Nelson to assemble the vessel on the empty Nelson Landing property just east of the Nelson bridge.

Graham Clarke, president of Western Pacific Marine, said the location makes the most sense for the project.

“It’s the best site, logistics, construction conditions, all things considered. …,” said Clarke. “It’s going to be a great public policy initiative for the region, and it’s something that Nelson can take pride in because we’re going to build it right there.”

The site will be on a portion of Crown land as well as at the far end of privately owned land once meant to be the Nelson Landing housing development, which never broke ground. Clarke said the ferry won’t be able to travel beneath the Nelson Bridge once completed, which rules out any sites on the west side of the city.

The private land isn’t zoned for the project, but Western Pacific Marine plans to circumvent that with the temporary-use permit that city council is expected to vote on at its Feb. 9 meeting.

This is the site plan for the ferry’s construction. The orange line denotes a berm and fence surrounding the assembly area. The yellow line will be a new walking route for residents on their way to and from Red Sands Beach, which is located a short distance past the top of the image. Illustration courtesy Ward Engineering and Land Surveying Ltd.

This is the site plan for the ferry’s construction. The orange line denotes a berm and fence surrounding the assembly area. The yellow line will be a new walking route for residents on their way to and from Red Sands Beach, which is located a short distance past the top of the image. Illustration courtesy Ward Engineering and Land Surveying Ltd.

But the proposal has already rankled residents of the adjacent neighbourhood.

In December, David Reaka moved into his new home at the end of Sproat Drive next to the empty site and assumed there would be nearby residential construction at some point.

But he didn’t expect a ferry to built in a place locals routinely use for recreation as well as an access to Red Sands Beach.

“I can’t see how local people wouldn’t be disturbed,” said Reaka. “They say they’re going to contain contamination? I’m extremely skeptical of that. I really am.”

City planner Sebastian Arcand told the Nelson Star there’s contamination at the proposed site, which was the former home of the Kootenay Forest Products mill, but remediation wouldn’t be necessary because no permanent structures are being built.

He added the company has told the city it won’t be manufacturing parts at the site, only assembling the ferry using a dry dock currently located in Balfour.

Peter Ward of Ward Engineering and Land Surveying Ltd. said a new path will also be built around the site so residents can still access Red Sands Beach. Ward also said no workers will be housed at the site, and assembly is mostly limited to welding and fabrication.

Verna Relkoff has lived on Sproat Drive about 13 years. She said she’s concerned about an increase of traffic on the street.

“It’s incredibly busy,” she said. “Someone should come down and spend a week and just look at the traffic down here. Walkers, people with their kids, people on bicycles, people with dogs, people jogging.”

Clarke said his company is sensitive to the nearby neighbourhood. The only road to the site is a residential street, but Clarke said traffic and noise concerns have already been accounted for.

“This won’t be an unusual impact,” he said. “It’s not like the trucks are going to be continuously running. They’re going to come occasionally with a block or a module, which will be assembled on the site in a dry dock, and the dry dock has sides to it. So those will block the sound transmission.”

The new ferry, which the province said will be fully electric by 2030, replaces the 67-year-old MV Balfour. Both the MV Balfour and the MV Osprey 2000 are run by Western Pacific Marine and run between terminals at Balfour and Kootenay Bay.

The Osprey 2000 was also assembled in the same area as the proposed site for the new ferry.

READ MORE:

Electric-ready ferry for Kootenay Lake to begin operations in 2023

PLACE NAMES: Nelson neighbourhoods, Part 5

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

good lookin
West Kootenay pet shop owner petitions for end to pet mills

“Our companion animal laws are pretty lax right now, we need to bring more awareness to help SPCA”

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

The Columbia Basin Trust has announced grants for biodiversity initiatives. Photo: Submitted
Columbia Basin Trust announces ecosystem protection grants

Three projects are sharing a $1.35-million grant

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read