Beaton group pushing for bridge over new ferry

Beaton Arm Crossing Association looking for fixed link over Arrow Lake.

Dear editor:

On Monday, July 25 the Beaton Arm Crossing Association (BACA) met in Revelstoke with Ministry of Transport Officials (MOT) including Art McClean, District Manager, Jim, Supervising Transportation Planning Engineer, BCMOT, Kamloops, to discuss the new ferry proposal and the BACA fixed link proposal.

Each party provided a presentation of their proposal.  Graphs and data provided by MOT left us with more questions than answers.

MOT has not done socio-economic or environmental studies.  We provided information showing that the old ferry contributes 5.67 tons per day of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere and assuming the new ferry would be the size of the Osprey, it would contribute 9.89 tons per day.

Over a 40 year life span of the new ferry that would be a whopping 61,612 tons of additional GHG emissions!

We indicated that this was in conflict with the BC Climate Action Charter signed earlier this year.

We also provided reports showing improved social and economic conditions following fixed link projects.

While it was agreed by the MOT that our proposal was doable, they felt the time frame for completion would be in the order of ten years, which was considered to be too long under the present circumstances surrounding the old ferries.

We felt that in spite of that, it is time that a serious look at a fixed link be considered. If it takes ten years to have a fixed link then today is great time to start. The directors of BACA are prepared to continue pushing for the eventual completion of the fixed link crossing.

BACA provided ball park estimates of the cost of the new fixed link crossing, and asked if parts of the Port Mann Bridge could be used to cross Beaton Arm when it is removed from its present location.

MOT will look into this and they will also send us some information that we are presently unable to obtain like traffic patterns and wait times. They were discussing costs from previous options.

MOT did not have good figures for the cost of the new ferry, saying only that they think it will be less that $10 million. We questioned this figure in light of the fact that a same size vessel, The Osprey cost $21,169,655 in 2000.

BACA feels that the community is going to have to become much more vocal if they want a fixed link crossing. We will continue to voice the opinions of the vast majority of the local businesses, residents and transport operators, who have had enough the ferry system.   We are asking for the public’s support, as well as the retailers and businesses from the Okanagan, Shuswap, Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes, and West Kootenay area, whom this all affects.  Such as, when Highway 1 is closed west or east of Revelstoke, Highway 23 south to Nakusp becomes the “#1” highway.

We invited MOT to come to Nakusp for a public meeting where plans for the new ferry and the fixed link could be discussed in an open and transparent manner.

Gene Nagy

Secretary,

BACA – Beaton Arm Crossing Association