Artist’s conception of the fixed link at the Galena Bay ferry crossing site. A bridge would enhance the region’s economy in many ways, say proponents.

Group pushing for fixed link across Arrow Lakes

A new report and government have a local lobby group pushing for a bridge across Arrow Lakes.

NAKUSP — A new report and a new government have a local lobby group renewing its push for a bridge across the Arrow Lakes north of Nakusp.

The president of the Beaton Arm Crossing Association says he would like Nakusp village council to help them lobby for the fixed link across the lake.

“We want council to join us in meeting with the two MLAs, Katrine Conroy (Kootenay West) and Michelle Mungall (Nelson-Creston) to discuss getting rid of the ferry and putting in a fixed link at that north end,” Earl Frerichs told councillors at their meeting last week.

The request for a meeting with local MLAs comes on the heels of a new report issued last June, that outlines the problems with the region’s anaemic transportation links.

The Shipping and Logistics Report, commissioned by the Columbia Basin Trust, says that while the area’s transportation links don’t unduly restrict business’ ability to scale growth, “businesses with low value and/or heavy products are likely to face challenges in accessing distant markets competitively.”

That means there’s a problem for our logging industry, Frerichs told council.

The study also shows the Nakusp-Kaslo area has some of the longest wait times for transportation links in the province. In this era of e-commerce, consumers expect better, faster and cheaper supply of goods and services than the area’s links can now provide. That’s hampered both business development and population growth, Frerichs maintains.

While the study surveyed transportation issues across the Columbia Basin, Frerichs noted more than a third of the respondents came from the Nakusp-Kaslo-Slocan Valley region.

“There’s information in there that really says there’s an issue with transportation here,” said Frerichs. “Those areas are suffering from transportation problems, and they’re suffering from no growth. And that report tells you that.”

Past studies have shown that replacing the ferry service with a bridge could cost about $462 million, a figure Frerichs says his group is trying to find ways of reducing. Still, the benefits would also be substantial, including increasing local employment by 56 per cent, increasing the government’s tax revenues from the region by $29 million annually, promoting jobs in other areas like Nelson and Castlegar, and increasing land values in the Upper Arrow Lakes by as much as 33 per cent. BACA also points out the Columbia Basin Agreement brings nearly $700 million annually to the government’s coffers.

Promises of fixed-link crossings and new roads to the south have come and gone over the decades, but Frerichs says with a new NDP government, including two local MLAs in cabinet, the time has come to make a pitch for the fixed-link again.

“We can only hope,” he says. “Bear in mind it was the NDP that got the Columbia Basin Trust. This could be the next good step for them, to get the fixed link in.”

Council accepted BACA’s presentation as information but didn’t commit to taking part in the lobbying effort.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Trail police release image of liquor store robber

The video surveillance image shows the robber aiming a black gun at the store’s clerk

More snow called for the Kootenays

Environment Canada issued the bulletin Tuesday under its “BC Traveller’s Routes forecast”

Castlegar daycare selected for univeral child care pilot program

MLA Katrine Conroy presents letter of acceptance to the program to the Children’s Centre at Selkirk College

Kootenay employers ready to meet job seekers at Black Press career fair

Dozens of companies will attend the event on Nov. 15 at the Ktunaxa Nation Building in Cranbrook

Sandblasting Silver City skate sign

The Trail Sk8 Park was closed on Thursday so workers could ready a sign for painting

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Most Read