I read with interest that the Comox council has voted, in principle, to support a project proposal to enhance the Comox Marina Park promenade. Costs are estimated to be in the range of $440,000 for extending the walkway, building new platforms and constructing a new observation gazebo. There are, of course, other costs that can’t be estimated at this time. These costs could well top $50,000. The next step is for the council to “solicit input from the public and waterfront stakeholders… report to council… and research a variety of funding opportunities. ” I have no doubt that such a structure would enhance the ambiance of the waterfront park for those that would use it. However, before approximately $500,000 is spent for this project, I would suggest that council slow down and look at what the needs are of those who already use the waterfront.
Water recreation has been on the increase now for years. Crammed into an almost untenable small area at the boat launch is the sailing club, paddleboarders, canoes, kayaks and boats ranging from nine-foot prams, to 30-foot powerboats. The Comox Valley is woefully inadequately served by launching ramps. The congestion during the summer, and the resulting tensions at the ramp have led to altercations. Mix together vessels entering the water while others are trying to pull their boats, throw in the odd queue jumper, as well as number of youngsters trying to put their crafts in or out of the water and the result is preventable mayhem.
What council needs to do first, is to address the issues that exist at the ramp area. Put a float extension around the corner to the west so more vessels can tie up while waiting to use the ramp. Move the small municipal float off the end of the ramp so that vessels have room to move at low tide while on the ramp. And provide a safe area for the kids, so they don’t have to dodge vehicles backing down the ramp. First things first.