Letters to the BC Government

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 Please CC Local MLA Michelle Mungall


As a 57 year summer resident of Kootenay Lake, I am concern for the families who make a living in the Balfour businesses.  I am concerned about the ugly scar, bright street lights, environmental impact, and traffic through Queens Bay.  Very concerned about the huge loss in business and tax revenue for the local economy. As well as significant job losses.

I am extremely concern about the High potential for catastrophe created by this proposal. To force a passenger vessel to drive towards and park DOWN WIND on such an exposed rocky shoreline 18 times per day is asking for an inevitable wreck. IT IS NOT IF BUT WHEN!!!  Has the cost of damage to the dock and ferry been factored in? How about the loss of theferry or significant damage that would take it out of service for months??  Will the people that make this decision be held responsible for any resulting injuries or deaths???  Talk to the Captains, Talk to the tugboat drivers, Talk to the people of the lake, Her storms are not to be trifled with!  And Murphie’s law will prevail.

R. Green, Longbeach Nnorth shore

From facebook
By Ed Mannings to Choose Balfour

The terminal was built in the West Arm for safety reasons. Anyone who has spent any time on Kootenay Lake is very familiar with the storms from the south that can quickly create six foot rock hard swells. And the storms from the north that can get even bigger. The southern swells pound into Queens Bay in the exact location of their proposed terminal. The old time steam boaters on Kootenay Lake knew this. The engineers from SNC do not. And the routing from the West Arm to Kootenay Bay is north south, which is the only logical way to travel Kootenay Lake during storms. An east west crossing would run the ferry right through the wave troughs.Their feasibility study was very narrowly focused and ignores many many other issues in addition to lake storms. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Dredge the outlet. Replace the SS Balfour. Don’t wreck the businesses in Balfour. And don’t wreck a kilometer of beautiful beach in Queens Bay.


Letter from Mark Lawson, visitor and loyal tourist from Chicago:

As difficult as that balancing act is, there is an additional duty to protect the quality of life.  This means that a government must try to preserve the positive experiences its citizens encounter in their everyday life.  An example of this is preserving the passenger train service from Vancouver to Halifax even though it is far more cost and time efficient to travel by plane.

My name is Mark Lawson, but having visited B.C. 15 times in the last 40 years, you can just call me a loyal tourist.  Many people like me look forward to the Balfour Ferry Experience (BFE) and consider it one of the many attractions of the Kootenays.

The BFE provides access to inspiring vistas, opportunities to meet and create community, and time to appreciate one’s journey through BC and through life.   When underway, the expansive Kootenay Lake reveals the stunning sweep of the Selkirk and Purcell Mountain Ranges.  This vista, like great art, can simply be a beautiful backdrop or time can be invested to stop, look and listen to how it speaks to you today.

The BFE includes meeting a wide variety of people enjoying the crossing.  Most passengers leave their vehicles to enjoy the common areas of the ferry.  Some find a corner just to be by themselves and relax.  Others are apt to share their experience with fellow travelers.  Truckers benefit from a well-deserved break from the stress of navigating the twisty road, newlyweds on their wedding day stroll the ferry on the way to their reception, and Kootenay citizens just enjoy the wind on their face.

The steady pace of the Balfour Ferry encourages people to slow down and appreciate their surroundings, the value of the experience, and perhaps discover something about their own lives.  “There are none happy in the world but beings who enjoy a vast horizon” (- Damodara).  What is to be gained by speeding through a part of your life that you enjoy?  Why rush through a gourmet experience?

In conclusion, in your deliberations, please consider the responsibility of the government to protect the experiences that your citizens enjoy.  This is a golden opportunity to protect a part of the Province’s infrastructure that is actually joyful, lowers stress levels, creates community and adds to the quality of life.

Thanks for continuing to provide the Balfour Ferry Experience.

 Contributed – Nelson Star
 posted Jun 16, 2016 at 2:00 PM

‎Re: “Residents pack Kootenay Lake ferry meeting”

Two important pieces of information are‎ missing in this article. It is important people understand:

In the ministry’s Queens Bay proposal, they have no money allocated for cleaning up the previous industrial site at the Balfour ferry landing. This must be included in their budget.‎ Maybe money for properly upgrading the facility to make it viable for tourism should be in that too. Our communities just can’t afford it otherwise.

And to compare apples to apples, all costs of the barge should be included in the Queens Bay proposal. Even if it can be multi purpose, to hide that budgeting from our Kootenay Lake community is unacceptable, especially since the real cost of upgrading Balfour is $6 million ($3 million to dredge, which is happening anyway in Queens Bay, $2 million‎ to fix the landing, and $1 million to properly fix the highway road), plus a ferry, which can also be multi purpose.

It’s funny to note in the ministry’s formal paper questionnaire that they don’t have Queens Bay as a community. This proposal and process is very biased. ‎Many excuses to leave, no reasons for staying.

There is a heavy connotation in the article that the Queens Bay argument against the ferry moving is NIMBY (Our beach! Oh no!) when realistically it is environmental:

• Installing an industrial site in a pristine environment when this side of the lake already has a site that is compromised (Balfour ferry landing and area). We don’t need another and we don’t want one.

• Slow moving waters in Queens Bay will trap foreign polluting articles from fill/dredging‎/ humans/vehicles/ferry and more. This is a long term problem.

• There are watersheds in Queens Bay the ministry has not considered. My drinking water is very important to me and there is no mitigation.

This is a lot more than NIMBY. We are building a new industrial site the will permanently alter the community and virgin ecology of Queens Bay forever. It will also severely damage the community and economy of Balfour and Kootenay Lake.‎ Stay strong everyone.

Reg P. Goldsbury, Balfour


Contributed – Nelson Star
posted Jun 15, 2016 at 2:00 AM— updated Jun 15, 2016 at 11:27 AM

A study on moving the Balfour ferry terminal has recommended a site on the north side of Queens Bay, which would reduce the crossing distance from nine kilometers to 5.4.— image credit:

This is an open and heartfelt letter to all long time Kootenay folk and the many newcomers from all over the world who have been drawn here, attracted by this beautiful and dare I say it, sacred land.

I have lived on the shores of Kootenay Lake for 41 years and have never written to the newspaper, but these are serious times, and I feel compelled to.

We have just been informed that the government is offering us a community forum to educate us of their plans and to give our feedback about moving the Balfour ferry terminal to a new site in Queens Bay.

They say “the continued safe and efficient operation of our inland ferry is extremely important to our government and to the travellers who rely on it.” Instead, I say “the continued pleasant and carefree enjoyment of our lake by locals who live here and rely on it.” (Feel free to read “freedom to float in the tender caress of our mother’s arms.”)

In the stern voice of the government, they say “the issues require action.” Instead I say “wait a minute, the issue requires reflection, a deep breath, a moment to look around at what we have here.”

They say “the changing lakebed is the key challenge we have to address.” Instead I say “address the lakebed, why undress the shoreline?”

They say “traffic volumes can slow unloading of vehicles.” Instead I say “slow down, drive slower, enjoy the scenery.”

They say “improvement in risk profile for the Kootenay lake ferry service.” Instead I say “awareness of the risk to Kootenay Lake and the generations to come who will hopefully have something to love.”

From the bygone ladies in crinolines and parasols aboard the sternwheelers to the bikinis and bermudas of today’s paddle boarders, kayakers and jet skis, this bay has provided the warmest waters to bathe in. Whether you are topless or suited this is the only free and open lake access to all Kootenay residents.

Come here and see for yourselves before it’s too late. Sit with a grasshopper and bobber at McEwan point in August hoping for a rainbow. Look longingly at the sun of Creston shining below the cloud bank on a cloudy day. Enjoy the fall mists and the fog horns as they send a warning at the mouth of the arm. Come soon, before we have a Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay of the bureaucrats’ making.

And let the men with their pens and calculators in Victoria know that what we have here is priceless and timeless and sacred. You could travel the world and never see anything anywhere as beautiful, clean, and so damn pretty as we have here

Please, I implore you. We can stop this. (The Berlin Wall seemed cast in stone, but little people with little hammers chipped away and gave feedom to many.) I keep saying “I say” but if “we say” they just might stop and listen.