Benefits of QC boat launch far reaching

  • Jul. 8, 2015 6:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverVillage of Queen Charlotte hosted a public meeting with Skyline Engineering to discuss possibilities of the new boat launch. A small turnout of 12 community members came out to listen and discuss what is now working with the launch, and what can be improved upon. The walls of the Teen Centre were displayed with two different design concepts. Cord MacLean, an engineer for Skyline Engineering Ltd, spoke to the crowd explaining the different options that the village has to work with. The area where the boat launch is located has many different features that will have to be worked around, including high winds of the area, as the south eastern winds and the south westerly winds are the most problematic for people trying to unload and load their boats.  The drop-off of the beach is quite substantial and a blast breakwater would have to be shortened from the original plan, so the blasted rock will serve its purpose and not fall into the depths of the drop off.  It would leave less protection for the floating walkway than what was hoped for. The second option would be a concrete breakwater that’s armoured and attached to the floating dock, making this option more expensive but more useful. There were also two options given for the parking lot. The first option wouldn’t change much from the parking arrangement currently in place, but would require small upgrades to the drainage system. The second option is for flow-thru parking, a roundabout-style parking lot intended to make the unloading and loading of boats easier. The last item displayed for the public was the physical state of the launch ramp itself. It is in a bad state as it lays right now, with the lower portion breaking apart from weather and wear. The grade of the ramp is currently a shallow 12 per cent, which causes problems with some boats being unloaded at low tide. The new design calls for a steeper grade of 13 per cent. While most people present like the ideas presented, the budget caused a bit of a heated debate among some. Village CEO Deborah Uliana tried to mitigate the cost concerns by underlying the importance of the launch.”This project not only helps Queen Charlotte, it also helps our neighbour Skidegate,” she said. “What I see, this not only helps local people feed their families and our neighbours feed their families, it helps tourism. It has so many plusses with it. This is the most exciting project I have seen the village do in 10 years.”The paving of the parking lot will take up the majority of the budget, while shipping project supplies to the island will will also absorb a high percentage. However, reduced repair and maintenance costs will offset the expense with the projected 40-year lifespan of the new launch. The funding for the boat launch comes from a huge grant from Northern Development Initiative Trust and Gwaii Trust and UBCM Gas Tax.

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