New boat launch underway

A new boat launch at Lake Koocanusa will mean less of a wait for boat owners to get on the water this summer.

Representatives from the Regional District of East Kootenay including Area A director Mike Sosnowski

A new boat launch at Lake Koocanusa will mean less of a wait for boat owners to get on the water this summer.

Instead of waiting in line at the Kikomun Creek boat launch this summer, boaters at Koocanusa will be able to enjoy a new public access boat launch, located on the northwest side of Kikomun Bridge in Baynes Lake.

Construction has begun of the public boat launch, and it is expected to open in July.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett along with City of Fernie Mayor Cindy Corrigan, District of Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher, Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area A director Mike Sosnowski and representatives from Teck, Columbia Basin Trust, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, gathered at the construction site of the new boat launch to thank the community for getting involved in the project on Friday.

Ray Kelly of the Kootenay Power Boat Association came to Bill Bennett and asked him if he’d ever tried to launch a boat in the Koocanusa Reservoir.

Bennett said that after Kelly explained to him the procedure he realized there was a need for a new boat launch.

“Don’t get me wrong, the boat launch at Kikomun is great, but it’s not enough,” said Bennett.

He said that during the summer boaters can wait many hours to get their boat in the water.

Bennett knew there was a need, but needed to find a location for the boat launch. The land was initially part of Ktunaxa Nation treaty negotiations but was removed so that it could be used for the project.

“We are very honoured that the launch will bear a Ktunaxa name, Yaqakxaqlamki, which simply means ‘the place where the boat leaves the shore,’” said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa chair.

The anticipated cost of the boat launch is $1.6 million. Bennett emphasized that the construction of the boat launch will not come at the cost of taxpayers.

The two-hectare site will include a ramp, floating breakwater, floating dock, an outhouse, a garbage receptacle and a parking lot for up to 60 vehicles and trailers.

Bennett thanked BC Hydro, Columbia Basin Trust and Teck for their donations to the project.

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