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

Remi Drolet
Rossland skier competes at World Nordic ski championship

Remi Drolet was selected to Team Canada and will race at the 2021 FIS World Nordic Ski Championships

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 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

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

Columbia Park Housing, as seem in this photo dated Feb. 23, will be ready for tenancy by June 1. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Applications open for new affordable housing units in East Trail

Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society will own and operate the rental complex

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: B.C. teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Most Read