The Shingle Spit boat launch ramp on Hornby Island (Photo: Comox Valley Regional District)

District plans to take over Hornby Island boat launch

The Comox Valley Regional District plans on taking over the Shingle Spit boat launch on Hornby Island.

The somewhat decrepit-looking launch ramp is near the BC Ferries terminal and it’s the only public facility on the little island.

The Hornby Island Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association asked the regional district in May to consider including the ramp in its Hornby Island Parks and Greenways service agreement.

Doug DeMarzo, manager of parks for the regional district, reported Monday that adding the boat launch to the parks service could add about $15,000 in capital costs for minor upgrades including kickrails for safety purposes.

Upgrades in the future, including a one-time upgrade to fully resurface the ramp, could cost up to $70,000.

DeMarzo said it’s believed the last upgrade to the ramp was done in the 1970’s.

Up until 2012 the boat launch was part of the BC Ferries licence of occupation.

“In 2014 a group of Hornby Island residents wanted to ensure this asset remained in the community and began a series of inquiries on how to achieve this,” wrote DeMarzo.

He said regional district parks staff assessed the condition of the boat launch in February.

“Staff found that the boat ramp still functions well at medium to high tides,” he reported. “Minimal upgrades of kickrails would help make this launch safer. Improving the turning radius onto the top of the ramp would also benefit the users.”

Funding, he said, for the initial upgrades could come from the district’s Community Works Funds. Hornby residents have indicated they could probably raise $10,000 for needed work.

A separate boat ramp committee is envisioned to function under the Hornby ratepayers’ group. This is a similar model to the Bill Mee boat ramp committee on Denman Island.

Electoral Area A director Bruce Jolliffe said the plan of taking over the ramp seemed “doable”.

He noted that the ramp does provide access and egress in case of an emergency as the Ford Cove marina only has a “limited opportunity for launching boats”.

“I’m fully supportive of this,” he said of the plan.

Once the concept receives final approval from the regional district board, the district will apply for a licence of occupation from the province.

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