When a new ship is christened, a bottle of champagne is smashed on the bow. There was no broken glass, but just as much celebration when the boat launch at Dragon Lake was reopened, this past weekend.
The popular spot was rendered essentially useless by broken cement ramps into the water. People had been getting their boats into the water in various makeshift ways, as a result. The City of Quesnel took steps to fix the problem, starting in early 2022, and all the bureaucracy dragged it out until July 22, the date the repairs could be done.
The ramp was on Crown land, thus requiring the municipality to go through the formal process of applying for land tenure over the site. A license of occupation was finally granted.
“This is a really good story, based on a lot of work that’s been done, mostly by Lindsay Blair, our senior community development coordinator,” said city manager Byron Johnson.
The repairs will include replacing an existing concrete pad, “which will improve the overall safety and functionality of the boat launch.”
The City abundantly thanked two corporate supporters in particular – Emcon Services and Fresno Construction – and also applauded United Concrete and Quesnel River Environmental. Together they supplied needed donations of time, materials, and equipment to ensure the project happened with minimal impact to the taxpayer or recreational user, since the work was done in a one-weekend window.
“Without their support, we would not be able to undertake these repairs and improvements,” said Blair. “Now that the City has tenure at the boat launch, the plan is to install a new double-wide boat ramp, a dock, new outhouse, and line painting in the parking lot, all pending funding and permits.”
The first item on the work order is the dock, which is expected this year. Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (Go Fish BC) is installing the dock later this year, said Blair. It is designed with a 20-foot ramp leading to a 30-foot pier (all six feet wide) then a 40-foot perpendicular pier attached at the end (eight feet wide). All of it will be fully wheelchair accessible.
“The Dragon Lake Boat Launch is an important asset to the community and the City is committed to ensuring that it’s a safe and functional space for all residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Blair.
Councillor Scott Elliott spoke up at the most recent council meeting to applaud the efforts of Blair and involved staff.
“All those public accesses have been extremely busy (as makeshift boat launches) because a lot of people just can’t get on the main boat launch, so I’m getting complaints from some of the homeowners around the other spots,” he said. “It’s really going to ease some of the tensions. It’s going to be fantastic for some of the bigger boats, and a dream come true with the dock getting moved forward, too.”