To the Editor
After getting onto the website www.friendsofkootenaylake.com, filling out the questionnaire, and reading some of the comments others had entered, I thought I may be better off, taking a look for myself. I had taken the ferry a couple of times in the last two weeks, and tried to size up the newly proposed ferry route, both in terms of a better docking site and the shorter route across the lake (by a supposed 15 minute margin). With this ferry being the longest free ferry in North America, the costs of operation must be quite substantial, to say nothing of the repairs to damages done by having the drive propellers hitting the bottom of the Kootenay River channel as the Osprey tries to manoeuvre into its docking area. Aside from the huge costs of dredging the river channel (possibly every three years), the cost of fuel, staffing, and infrastructure costs of operating two ferries from the old Balfour terminal must all be astronomical.
As I looked over the Queen’s Bay area, I thought to myself: why should these people have the absolute right to commandeer this stretch of waterfront which would better serve the public good, rather than just that of a select few? I feel bad for the merchants who may be put out by a change in location of the ferry docking, but I’m sure it won’t be long before it is business as usual in the new venue. Yes, we are hearing those against the move, whining like a two-year old after his teddy was taken away but, again, review the article by the owner of the Gray Creek store to get an insight into the broader picture and ramifications of the proposed move. Any savvy business owner might consider moving to the new location and offering their services in a smaller or mobile venue.
As usual I find it sickening when a few people feel they are being cheated out of what they figure is theirs — the newly proposed location is not theirs, and furthermore the government should expropriate any private land as needed for the public good. Doubtless this controversy will boil over a few times, but the bottom line is the problem has to be dealt with in a manner that is cost and time efficient and, in spite of all the “support us” signs at the road side as one leaves the ferry to go to Nelson, we always have to look at the bigger picture.