Area B director wants to investigate new boat launch on Mudge Island

·2 min read

The Regional District of Nanaimo has taken a first step toward exploring the feasibility of a car-top boat launching facility on the northeast side of Mudge Island.

A motion by Electoral Area B Director Vanessa Craig to have staff investigate considerations like Ministry of Transportation (MOTI) rights-of-way passed at committee-level May 7 and will go to the board of directors on May 25.

“For decades [Mudge Islanders] have been using private property – they were basically able to bring their boats up onto it – but it’s been recently sold so they can’t do that anymore,” she explained to the electoral area services committee. “There are a couple of MOTI right of ways along that edge of Mudge that could be potentially used, but they’re steeper and access is a bit more difficult.”

She’d like to see a staff report that would look at those various potential locations and whether modification would be needed.

Chad Giesbrecht, who lives on Mudge Island, said the launch spot, colloquially called Steep Beach, is used by some but not all residents. “We all have our own way of getting here,” he said.

Giesbrecht said “it certainly wouldn’t hurt” to have a designated location along that part of the island to launch car-top boats, adding it would be helpful to have another barge location as the only place currently is the marina, which requires a fee for use.

Parks staff said drafting a feasibility report to look at at road allowances is doable, but staff have a lot of projects ongoing already.

“We’re very taxed right now and will have to review the [2022 parks] work plan in June,” Tom Osbourne, general manager of recreation and parks, said.

“There has been some beach access work done under a previous board to sort of verify the types of uses that are taking place on Mudge,” he said. “It’s a very complex scenario where it’s actually a transportation-type issue.”

Craig said she’s looking for the staff time to draft the report going into 2022 to develop a plan for what she anticipates to be a multi-year project.

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

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