Brechin Boat Ramp slated for upgrade

NANAIMO – The city plans upgrades to the dock fingers at the boat ramp so they are wider, longer and more stable.

Boaters will soon have more space to come and go from the Brechin Boat Ramp.

The City of Nanaimo plans upgrades to the dock fingers at the boat ramp so they are wider, longer and more stable.

Two years ago, fishermen were calling for improvements to the city-owned boat ramp, citing access problems, parking shortages and yelling matches between boaters. They said the ramp was at capacity and had become a choke point for people wanting to access the water.

There have been changes, such as improved signage, lane destination and parking stalls for vehicles not pulling trailers, according to Art Groot, city manager of facility planning and operations. A new length for the dock fingers has been set to alleviate capacity issues at low tides and busy times. Upgrades will also make them considerably wider and more stable, said Groot, who said the fingers are narrow and unstable, making it hard for people to walk beside each other.

Rick Ferguson, member of the boat launch users committee, said with the city approving dock extensions he sees things being much better moving forward.

“This is sort of the linchpin of the whole discussion about improving access – is this ability to launch under all tidal conditions, the ability to have multiple boats tied up coming and going at the same time, which we just haven’t had,” said Ferguson.

He said when the tide is low, docks aren’t accessible to more than one boat at a time, which means there are a bunch of people bobbing around, potentially in the way of seaplanes, waiting for their turn to pull their boats out. It’s when conflicts develop, when people are impatient and someone doesn’t take his or her turn, he said, adding more dock extensions adds space at low times to speed up the flow of traffic of people launching and retrieving boats.

Ferguson said he saw far fewer problems this year and didn’t get as many e-mails from upset sport fishermen. He sees improvement largely due to the work the city has done.

City council has approved spending $136,000 from the Brechin Boat Ramp reserve –made up of user fees – and $35,000 already set aside to expedite finger upgrades next year. It will also spend $75,000 to finish upgrades of all the fingers and extension of a rowing dock.

The material to do the work is set to come from a floating wharf the city will set up in Swy-a-lana Lagoon for Rogers Hometown Hockey in February and the city needs approval on its application to the province to amend its water licence for the project.