MVA reverses decision to shutter boat launches

By
May 19, 2017 - 2:19pm
According to the MVA, a new partnership with the R.M. of Corman Park and public support led to the decision to maintain the boat launches.
File photo/650 CKOM
According to the MVA, a new partnership with the R.M. of Corman Park and public support led to the decision to maintain the boat launches.

The Meewasin Valley Authority is reversing course on a decision to close three boat launches along the South Saskatchewan River.

Fred Heal, Poplar Bluffs and Paradise Beach parking lots will remain open, despite a decision last month to close them due to budget pressures.

"Since we announced the closures, we've had a ground swell of willingness and public support," said MVA interim CEO Doug Porteous.

"People out there cleaning, people out there fundraising ... making Meewasin a charity of choice."

Former CEO Lloyd Isaak had made the call to close the boat launch lots, noting it required staff and resources to maintain and clean the lots. 

But Porteous said Isaak and others began working on a partnership with the Rural Municipality of Corman Park and Loraas Disposal to arrange for enforcement and garbage bins at the launches.

"If Lloyd Isaak was here today, the same thing would be happening," Porteous said.

"There was a philosophical difference between Lloyd and the board, but it certainly wasn't about the boat launches."

Porteous noted the R.M. would be supplying police and bylaw resources to enforce rules at the sites, which includes a ban on open fires and alcohol.

A $409,000 budget cut from the province has forced the MVA to consider program costs, leading to the end of the pelican watch contest and a decision to not hire some summer staff.

Porteous said the boat launches cost the MVA $60,000 a year to operate. However, he emphasized the new partnership with Corman Park and Loraas is "sustainable."

The MVA is reminding users of the boat launches to only use the parking lot between sunrise and sunset, and to dispose of garbage properly.

They're also warning drivers that vehicles parked on grid road shoulders near the launches could be ticketed and towed, while ATVs parked on river sandbars can be impounded.

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