Kitimat council keeps focus on water access

Council talked marinas as they voted to send a letter for reduced fees at MK Bay Marina.

You can lead a Kitimatian to water but can you make them pay?

Kitimat Council went after the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine (RDKS) to ensure their boat launch policy at MK Bay Marina allowed for free launching of non-motorized vessels.

Further, the motion, moved by Phil Germuth, addresses insurance liability,  and says “that the regional district attempt to overcome any liability issues to allow for the no charge launching of kayaks and canoes from MK Marina boat launch.”

This motion is just one of a string of motions and discussions aimed at improving water access for Kitimat residents, an issue which really came to the forefront over the summer when safety concerns forced Rio Tinto Alcan to close Hospital Beach. Although now re-opened, the issue brought the issue of waterfront access into the spotlight, and in particular MK Bay Marina, effectively the only access to the Douglas Channel Kitimat had.

A release from a recent in-camera council meeting revealed that council has directed staff to look at the possibility of establishing a municipal marina (Sentinel, Oct. 24, page 7). While discussion over launching fees at the marina didn’t touch on that specifically at the council meeting, Mario Feldhoff did suggest that improving launch fees is just one small step.

“We need to revisit the whole issue of marinas and boat access and water access. We have a lot of work to do,” he said at the meeting, while still supporting the motion at hand.

After the letter was sent, a response was returned from RDKS administrator Bob Marcellin saying that it’s not their practice to charge the $20 launch fee for non-trailered boats, but parking fees are levied, which is $5 per day per vehicle.

***

At the Sept. 25 meeting of the Leisure Services Commission, Kitimat administration provided a report of possible water access locations in Kitimat for their discussion.

Following the presentation of this information, the Commission directed administration to follow-up on boat launch opportunities at both Minette Bay Marina and Maggie Point.

Below is what the report said about those two locations:

MAGGIE POINT — Haisla Tourism along with the Kitimat Naturalist Society are building a trail from just north of MK Bay to Maggie Point. The work will also include a bird watching area at Maggie Point. The trail would allow for access to the beach where persons could launch kayaks or canoes. Issues: The beach area is apporiximately 300 feet along the trail from the parking area and the beach area has a number of logs n it which would have to be cleared. Permission would have to be sought to use the area and some liability issues would have to be resolved. The beach area does not have a proper dock or boat launch area and boaters would have to launch from the beach.

MINETTE BAY MARINA — This area is used by the annual Dragon Boat Regatta. Issues: The land is leased from the Crown for the current operator and permission to use it would have to be sought. Several liability issues would have to be dealt with for use by the public along with some parking issues prior to any access being given.

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