Extension Letter MOTI



What about…

The Economic Impact

• Job Losses – About 60 people count on their livelihood on the Balfour Ferry Landing.  Plus, up to 20 Ferry Corporation employees will lose their seasonal jobs when the second ferry is shut down.   What happens to Balfour when these jobs leave?   There are limited local work opportunities for these people. They will be forced to move.

• Business Closures/Loss of amenities – The dozen Balfour businesses on the existing landing have indicated they will be forced to reduce services and hours, and some will shut down.  Local amenities will be lost without substantial government assistance ($$$) to drive tourism in Balfour.

• A Vibrant Rural Economy - Currently the Balfour Ferry Landing businesses put about $7-10 million per year directly into the local economy.  The tens of millions in economic spin off will be lost throughout the Kootenay Lake region (none of this is accounted for in the study)

• Lost Tax Revenues – Currently the Balfour Ferry Landing businesses contribute about a million dollars annually to the Government’s coffers.

Negative effect on Tourism

• Loss of our Greatest Tourist Attraction, “The longest free ferry ride in the world.”  This attraction is massive for the economy around the lake – it is used internationally in marketing campaigns.  A faster, shorter ferry robs us of this claim and reduces the impact of this international attraction.

• Increased commercial truck traffic – While the tourism appeal is diminished, a faster, shorter ferry ride will attract more professional drivers who will see the benefit to avoiding the Kootenay Pass (gas savings, time).  This will put extra pressure on the winding, narrow road system of Hwy 3A, and increase semi-truck traffic congestion in Nelson.

• Loss of Tourism Ambassadors & Information Services - All the Balfour ferry landing businesses promote the region.  Hundreds of thousands of brochures and magazines on regional tourism are distributed on the ferry landing.  Availability and interaction with this captive market will be lost.

• Balfour becomes a bypass community - Less services means less reason for tourists to come – having a domino effect for other businesses and attractions

Good Use of Your Tax Dollars

• Millions in annual economic losses were not accounted for in MOTI study

• Millions to restore and refit the Balfour Ferry Landing into a viable tourist area were not accounted for in the MOTI study, or provide compensation to those most effected

• Tens of millions for a back-up ferry service (barge was suggested) were, again, not accounted for in the MOTI study.   Note, the Balfour Ferry Landing option INCLUDES a new ferry.

• The money required to do proper environmental assessments, and archaeological evaluation for the high incidence of aboriginal sites of importance, were not factored into the study.  The present feasibility study cost $200,000.

• The additional money required to shore up the mud slide area above the proposed Queens Bay site

• The millions that will be required to widen the highway to accommodate additional traffic.

• The 25% margin for error quoted in the study that effectively mutes any cost difference between Balfour and Queens Bay.

• The BC government is notoriously famous for budget over-runs (ie: fast ferry’s on the coast)

Lost Community Value

• The value of local services and continued Balfour community vibrancy

• The minimal services available in community during 8 month off-season that will result with a ferry landing closure

• The reduced commercial property values

• Reduced residential values in Balfour due to loss of community values – jobs & services



What about

Fish & Wildlife Habitat

• Queens Bay is one of the few shallow, warm bays in Kootenay Lake, with a special ecosystem that is important to fish and other wildlife.

• MOTI admits to a “permanent alteration of fish habitat” in Queens Bay

• Thousands upon thousands of cubed meters of Kootenay Lake are affected by this proposal.

• A large riparian area, pristine lakefront will be destroyed by installing an industrial ferry site- Queens Bay will change forever to the negative.

• Dredging will need to occur in Queens Bay as it is a rocky shallow bay

• All this compared to dredging the accumulated silt in the mouth of the West Arm - dredging that has occurred before (1970s for the Anscombe) without major impact.


• 90,000 cubic meters of construction fill to be dropped into this pristine bay

• What about the settling and leeching that will occur from the fill – negatively affecting habitats

• Once operational, automobile sludge, heavy diesel ferry pollution (air and water), and people pollution will pour into Queens Bay and stay

• Build up of pollution in the Bay.  Unlike the Balfour Ferry Landing where pollution is whisked downstream by the current, Queens Bay operates like an eddy where the current circulates in the bay.

• Did we mention Balfour gets its drinking water from Queens Bay?

Deferred Environmental Assessments?

• Should we wait until the project is approved to have proper assessments completed? No.

• Where does the federal government stand on moving the Ferry Landing? – these waters are regulated by them and there are reasons for the Landing being in Balfour.



What about

Balfour’s Water Supply

• How will the pollution from the construction and 90,000 meters of sediment affect the drinking water in Balfour

• How will the operational pollution (heavy duty diesel engine pollution , car traffic, human traffic pollution) affect the Balfour watershed

Unexplored First-Nations cultural archaeological sites of importance

• Consultation must occur prior to decision

• This issue remains unaddressed by the ministry’s proposal

• SCN-Lavelin documentation states unequivocally the types of sites expected in the study area include: village sites, quarry sites, CMT (culturally modified trees), pictographs, etc.

The community of Queens Bay

• Reduced property values in Queens Bay, the 67 properties immediately impacted by the move

• Lost community value in Balfour, potentially affecting property values

The community of Balfour

• The current Ferry location serves as Balfour’s community hub

• Our sense of identity is tied intrinsically to this social hub

• Loss of centralized services will only deplete the fragile economic and social fabric that currently exists

High value attractions

• The longer people stay in an area, the more likely OTHER services and attractions are used

Safety Issues due to increased semi-truck traffic on the narrow road between Balfour & Queens Bay

Bicycle safety, pedestrian safety,



What about

A second ferry

• Can a barge be enough (costs)

• Where is the new Dry Dock going

Reclamation of the Balfour ferry landing site

• Balfour community cannot be left to clean up previous industrial site – The ministry has no money allocated for site mitigation and clean up.

Minimizing the impact on the businesses and community of Balfour

Mud slides and site stabilization in Queens Bay

Highway congestion and narrow road system between Queens Bay and Balfour

Problems with the feasibility study

• The outdated sources used in the feasibility study

• The tremendous bias in the feasibility study

• The glaring holes and omissions in the feasibility study

• The presentation of only a single option, without presentation of the other alternatives

Problems with the consultation process

• The lack of time allowed for public consultation

• The bias in the community survey





Government liaising

Short term Strategies

 Encouraging People to fill out the MOTI strategy

 Encouraging People to sign the petitions

 Encouraging People to like us on Facebook, and share the information

 Encouraging People to get involved, and help

 Encouraging People to donate for the potential legal fund

Long term Strategies

Assessment / property value

Managing the process

• Remaining unified

• Governance

The need for many volunteers

• Communication Volunteers Needed

• Bookkeeper Volunteers Needed



Extension Letter MOTI

21 June 2016


Kirk Handrahan, Executive Director

Marine Branch

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure


Dear Mr. Handrahan


Re: Request from the Ferry Landing Partnership to extend the public formal consultation period for the Balfour Ferry Project in order to create an inclusive and transparent process.


Following the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s announcement of the Balfour Ferry Project the Queens Bay Residents’ Association and the Balfour Ferry Business Coalition joined to form the Ferry Landing Partnership. The purpose of this collaboration is to ensure that the views of the communities and stakeholders involved in a decision around the ferry landing location are properly considered by government. This request for a substantial extension to the consultation process is made on behalf of the Ferry Landing Partnership.


The Kootenay Lake ferry is a significant benefit to communities in the West Kootenay. Decisions around its operation have high consequences for adjacent neighbourhoods and the lake itself. It is our position that the public consultation exercise for the Balfour Ferry Project is neither fair, nor adequate, given what is at stake; culturally, environmentally, socially and economically.


The consultation period is too short. The Balfour business owners are at a particular disadvantage. This is the beginning of their peak business period and for the next few months they need to focus on that. Their current position is untenable. During the summer they do not have the time and resources to divert to this process. And this says nothing about the stress they feel because of the potential consequences of decisions around the location of the ferry terminal.


The general public is at a disadvantage as well. We have found many still disbelieving that MOTI would consider moving the ferry terminal. They believe incorrectly that what they have been hearing are the usual discredited rumours that have been around for decades. Others having heard of the process have fallen into fatalistic apathy believing that government has made up its mind and there is little to be done. Neither of these views reflect a public that has had enough time to adequately absorb and make sense of what they actually face regarding the future operation of the ferry.


On that same point the SNC-Lavalin study was completed in March, but not released until days before the Open House on June 15th.  How can an informed opinion be adequately drawn when there was so little time for reflection on the 176-page document?


The open house was well attended. But it speaks to the inadequacy of this process that one of the dominant moods in the room was frustration and concern that this three-hour session was government’s prime method for consulting with the public. Disappointed, and with little confidence in the process, many filled in their ballots thinking it was a hollow exercise. It remains unclear how the questionnaire’s results, the only measured indicator of the public’s disposition, will be counted and considered.


Another key problem with the formal consultation process is its bias. It is based primarily on the most recent technical feasibility report. It’s conclusion, and likely its purpose, is to recommend moving the ferry terminal to Queens Bay. As a final report it still has significant omissions. It also contains assumptions and forecasts that are questionable. In our view it is fundamentally another concept study only with more detail than the previous report. It doesn’t deserve the credence MOTI seems to be giving it. And it is not a wise choice for basing consultation if the ministry wishes to appear to be genuinely interested in the public’s opinion on the future location of the terminal.


A more fair process—one that might have caused considerable less upset in the community—would have been for MOTI to conduct a parallel study examining the feasibility of keeping the terminal where it is. That not having been done, and with many of us skeptical about the enthusiasm with which the ministry might pursue such an undertaking, it falls on the community to do that itself. With the resources and level of organization available that will take time—time we are reasonably requesting from the ministry.


The issue of bias shows up again in the questionnaire. It was not an impartial document. Many who filled in the questions had to resort to the write-in portion to properly express their views. Just how those might be considered is unclear. We also find fault with the methodological design of the questionnaire due to its bias, which creates the risk of results being misconstrued by the ministry.


We have been assured too often that no decision has been made. But we are not so naïve as to take comfort in that assertion. We understand that any final decision is the culmination of many decisions. It is our view that throughout the history of this undertaking, which goes back some years, and continues, decisions are being made all the time within MOTI. The momentum of those decisions is moving us closer to relocating the ferry terminal in Queens Bay and all the disastrous outcomes that will go with it. To date the ministry has not been fully transparent or inclusive regarding its engagement with the communities and stakeholders affected.


It is with all the above points in mind that we request that MOTI reverse its course and extend the consultation period to a reasonable length considering in particular the situation of the Balfour ferry landing businesses. Along with that we request that Ministry work with the Ferry Landing Partnership to create a transparent, fair, adequate and inclusive consultation process.


Given the urgency of the situation we would appreciate hearing from you before this Thursday June 23. On that day we will be holding a community meeting to discuss our collaborative strategy going forward.


On behalf of the Ferry Landing Partnership,


John Betts

Queens Bay Residents’ Association

Robin Goldsbury

Balfour Ferry Business Coalition



Copies to:

Michelle Mungalle

MLA Nelson-Creston


Ramona Faust

Director Area E Regional District of Central Kootenay


Keep up to date on the issues at the:

Choose Balfour Facebook page


Learn Why Queens Bay is Not An Option



The survey that is informing the MOTI’s decision-making process conducted by SNC-Lavalin.

Balfour Ferry Terminal Relocation Project


More information on SNC-Lavalin. Note the "Controversies" write up.

SNC-Lavalin Wikipedia



The Nelson Star – June 12, 2016:

Battle brewing over Balfour ferry terminal


The Nelson Star – June 14, 2016:

Queens Bay ferry move would cost $25 million, study says


The Nelson Star – June 16, 2016:

LETTER: Costs missing from ferry proposal


The Nelson Star – June 16, 2016:  Residents pack Kootenay Lake ferry meeting


The Nelson Daily – June 16, 2016:

‘Why trash a beautiful piece of nature’


The Nelson star – Sept. 24, 2014:

Moving Balfour ferry terminal not a new idea, former MLA says






Choose Balfour