BOATING WITH BARB: Problems at town boat launch ‘not… – Comox Valley Record

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BY BARB THOMSON

Special to Black Press

Sometimes being on the other side of the fence changes how you see things.

For example, on Aug. 12, 2022, a 16-foot low tide exchange left most of the Comox Harbour boat launch ramp high and dry. I saw boats waiting to come out of the water and trucks with trailered boats waiting to get into the water. It was gridlock, or rather, a drydock. No one could get in or out. At about this same time, a city backhoe rumbled down the boat ramp with a crew to drop off a load of rocks into gaps between the concrete slabs. Passersby stopped to watch; people were consulting. You could have sold tickets, popcorn, and tide guides.

The boat ramp is a seasonal 40-foot-wide bottleneck with a sharp right-angle turn past docks jutting into the passageway. Once past the turn, boaters then navigate a two-way gauntlet of moored and moving vessels, kayakers, paddleboarders, and excited little children learning how to sail. On that sunny Friday afternoon, I was struck by the bigger picture, the particular frustration of private plus public interests, all competing for their watery footprint inside the Comox Harbour.

I asked myself the question: What could anyone do in order to make this better?

Jordan Wall is the chief administrative officer for the Town associated with Comox, the person I went to see about the harbour congestion. Wall confirmed the “greatest limit is geography. ”

He explained, “To the south, we’re limited by a drop off in the ocean floor – we can’t move the breakwater. To the west, by a privately owned marina, and east, by the Harbour Authority’s land. ”

Optimistically, he said the problems were “not insurmountable, ” and confirmed the planned dock extension allowing more boats to tie up, as well as the possibility of moving the dock finger constricting the turn into the passageway.

As for general accessibility to the harbour, Walls felt that perhaps Campbell River had done a better job of developing their waterfront as an “inviting place, ” whereas our fences and locked gates had the feel of the “closed private club. ”

Yet as Wall spoke, I can hear his positive enthusiasm, not only to open a wider passageway for boaters, but to open up the waterfront with its beauty and possibilities in order to everyone. Somehow now, the particular line of tall white boat masts across the harbour view from Wall’s office window looked like a closed picket fence.

Barb Thomson is a boating e nthusiast who writes regular columns with regard to the Comox Valley Report.

ALSO: How the Comox Harbour came to be

Boating Campbell River Comox Valley

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