Recently it was announced in the newspaper that a new ferry from Galena Bay to Shelter Bay in the West Kootenay’s will be replacing our presently outdated Galena Bay ferry, by the spring of 2014. The article states all of the advantages that will be in place once it is operational.
While this sounds very positive one has only to look at the overall picture of the West Kootenay to know that this will not sustain our economy or insure future generations, remain in the West Kootenay. Yes, there will be employment here for two years once the construction begins on the new ferry and the Village of Nakusp will reap the benefits with the businesses, but after that, then what?
Mayor Hamling commented, “we’ve stabilized now, but we’ve lost a lot of young families who would love to come back.” However, there are families who have remained in Nakusp, while out of necessity their spouses have had to find employment outside the community. While one doesn’t want to be a nay sayer, the reality is that if we are to maintain the amenities we have come to expect we will have to have more economic development here, otherwise those amenities could soon become a thing of the past.
Last year an organization was formed called the “Beaton Arm Crossing Association” which is located in Nakusp. This organization was formed for a multitude of reasons, the main reason being an alternative to another ferry on the Arrow Lakes.
The plan proposed to the government was for a fixed point crossing across the mouth of Beaton Arm and again across the narrows of the Columbia River at Sidmouth, thereby replacing the outdated Galena Bay ferry. They tried to make this a reality by working very diligently with different government officials, putting forth the information and reasoning behind the plan. A number of studies have been completed over the years and proposed to government officials; unfortunately, once again it fell on deaf ears.
In certain cases a ferry would be the only solution, but in this case there was an alternative. This brings to mind the Deas Island Tunnel which opened on May 23, 1959, replacing an outdated ferry system. Later they renamed the tunnel after George Massey, in memory of the man who worked so very hard from 1947 until the finalization in 1959 when it was completed. While under construction Mr. Massey suggested that the four lanes under the tunnel were inadequate; due to the cost, the government thought it wasn’t necessary. We now know Mr. Massey was indeed a man of vision: congestion today is horrific when travelling through the tunnel.
If we are to see any economic or social benefits we must bring the West Kootenay into the twenty-first century. If you would like to have a voice in this worthwhile cause, then the “Beaton Arm Crossing Association” is for you. They welcome new members for a very nominal fee.
Let’s be a part of positive change by making this a reality, not wishful thinking. Let’s get behind the BACA for the betterment of all. Another ferry for the West Kootenay’s is definitely not the answer but a fixed point crossing is!
Harry and Lauretta Ellens