There may be a chance to save the marina, Nakusp’s mayor says. Photo by John Boivin

Mayor offers glimmer of hope for saving Nakusp marina

Public meeting Monday to see if there’s community support to save facility

The mayor of Nakusp says he’s more optimistic than he used to be about saving the town’s marina.

“I haven’t given up,” says Tom Zeleznik. “I like to see things done. I’m a hands-on person and I like to physically go out there and help.”

A little over a month ago, Zeleznik said he could see the imminent end of the marina as a working facility in Nakusp.

Now, he says there’s more hope than before. And part of that is driven by the very unappealing alternative.

“It’s a job that’s a magnitude bigger than we can afford,” he admits. “But if you try to dismantle that instead, you still have to rent equipment, get divers, there are environmental issues, archeology concerns, wildlife problems, hazmat problems.

“You could spend six-figure amounts dismantling it, and have nothing. Or do you use those six-figure amounts and have something that brings economic opportunities to the community?”

Contractor reviews job

Earlier this month, the mayor says he met with Balfour-based Graham Marine Construction and several locals who are interested in the project.

And he says he learned that breaking the project up into smaller parts might help.

“[We could] look at taking each eight-foot concrete section … pull them out up onto our boat launch repair and refill with Styrofoam and reattach one section of the breakwater at a time,” he wrote in a recent Mayor’s Letter to the community. “Will still need to retrieve the missing breakwaters that have floated away, along with engineering costs, milling of timbers required, and new anchors (divers) to secure the breakwater.”

The project could also look at using dry bundles of logs to finish the breakwater if portions of the concrete breakwaters are too far gone.

“If you don’t have a breakwater you can’t have a marina. So there’s no use in putting any money into a marina if you can’t fix the breakwater. The waves keep coming in and destroying the work you’ve done,” he says.

“The breakwater’s the key. And if we can do it in phases, to keep the costs down, that could work.”

Breaking another project up into smaller parts might also help fund the marina project.

Zeleznik’s floated the idea of postponing the second half of the renovation of Broadway Ave. to help finance the marina project.

“We have to look at all possibilities. We haven’t ruled it out,” he said. “So maybe we can do two things in one. We don’t know what it is going to take to rebuild it yet.”

End of life planning

The nearly 40-year-old marina and breakwater on the Arrow Lakes has come to the end of its useful life. Portions of the marina’s breakwater have sunk, floated away, or broken up from wave action.

Without the breakwater, the rest of the docks won’t last long.

The marina has been operated by a volunteer, non-profit launch society for decades.

BC Hydro constructed the Nakusp marina, paved parking lot, fencing, lighting, rest station facility and marina breakwater at a cost of $3 million under a 1980 agreement. In 1986, BC Hydro constructed an additional western breakwater for the marina at a cost of $2.2 million.

As per the agreement, the marina and breakwaters were transferred to the village upon completion, and BC Hydro had no further obligation to maintain this asset.

Some support

Concern about the marina’s future has prompted some action. Despite the earlier agreement, BC Hydro has offered $100,000 towards restoring the breakwater — a small fraction of the required amount — but the mayor says it will still be useful.

He says the Columbia Basin Trust and provincial ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources have said they are willing to assist with costs associated with the engineering of the breakwater.

The Launch Society are holding a public meeting Monday to gather community opinion about the marina and gauge support for the facility.

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