Boat ramp closure causes issues for some residents as extension takes place

The boat ramp closure at the Nakusp Marina is causing issues for some residents while the ramp is being extended

If you’ve been down to the Arrow Lakes Reservoir lately, one thing you’re likely to notice is a lack of access to the boat launch.

It was closed on Nov. 30, to allow BC Hydro to extend the ramp to 425 metres. The project is expected to wrap up on Jan. 22.

“This project has been in the works for a while, and now we have the right water levels to do the work, so we’re going ahead with completing the project.” said Carly Moran of BC Hydro.

Typically, water levels at the reservoir are lower in the winter time, which makes it easier to complete the project.

“We’re obligated to maintain access throughout the summer recreational season, but we’re not required to in the winter,” she said “It’s more feasible for us to close the ramp in the winter, when we’re in the off-season.”

Not everyone is pleased with the timing of the closure.

The annual Blue Knuckle Derby is taking place on Jan. 16 and 17, and the boat launch is a necessary part of the derby.

“We’ve been running into a bit of trouble trying to host this thing over the last couple of years, because we have no boat ramp,” said Joe Williams, one of the hosts of the derby.

Williams has had help from Interfor, and from Isaque Viera of Arrow Lakes Redi Mix in the last couple of years, with Vierra providing a roadway on his property, and Interfor proving a 75 foot dock they could use, but Williams is hoping the boat launch will be ready before then.

“I really hope we don’t have to ask Isaac and Interfor to get involved again, but if that’s the case, I’m going to have to do that. We want to make sure that this derby keeps going.”

The Blue Knuckle Derby was created in memory of Williams’ son-in-law, Gord Roberts, who passed away suddenly about six years ago.

“It’s become a really important thing to our family, and it’s become a really important thing to our town,” he said. “A lot of people come in, and it brings quite a bit of business to the hotels and restaurants. We have people coming here from Alberta, Washington, and even down the coast, it’s become quite a popular thing.”

It is possible the boat launch extension could be completed ahead of schedule.

“I did talk to the foreman down there and said ‘Do you think you guys could be done a few days early?.’ He just kind of smiled and said it might be possible. I’m hoping for that.”