FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Ministry of Environment is giving a new explanation for last week’s appearance of barriers that greatly reduced the size of a boat that can be launched at the Mile 54 boat launch.
In August, the Peace River Regional District sent a letter to BC Parks, asking them to get gates built to block access to the parking lots at the Mile 54 boat launch after residents complained about the increasing frequency of parties at the parking lots in winter.
In a response letter, BC Parks Peace Section Head Lisa Hardy acknowledged that the parks service has dealt with the ongoing party problem during the winter months and has discussed some solutions.
“At this time, staff are in the process of obtaining quotes for the installation of 2 gates to close off the access to the boat launch parking lots and road,” wrote Hardy
She added that BC Parks staff were also going to be erecting a barricade at the boat launch to ensure no vehicles drive over the frozen lake to access the boat launch parking lots over the winter.
Now, however the Ministry of Environment, which oversees the parks service, says that the barriers were placed on the boat launch because the launch is in a state of disrepair, and can’t handle the use by large boats and trailers.
Ministry spokesperson David Karn said that unauthorized snow removal from the access road at the boat launch has been undertaken in past years, causing deterioration of the road.
He said that BC Parks has determined that the launch is currently not suitable for larger trailered boats due to its current condition, but that the launch will continue to accommodate car-top boats.
“There are currently no plans to make capital improvements to the boat launch,” wrote Karn in an email.
He added that there are three other boat launches in the area that continue to allow larger, trailered boat access to Charlie Lake, and that during winter the public will still to be able to access the area on foot, by snowshoe or on skis.