It’s always been where residence and tourist alike take out and launch their boats onto the Columbia River. Recently users of the common access point have encountered barriers blocking the launch area by Horsetheif service road. After some investigating, the Village of Radium realized who had blocked the access and why.
“Historically, we have a boat take out launch at the first bridge here leaving Radium on the Horsetheif service road. It’s a very popular route to go from invermere to radium by canoe or kayak raft, whatever you have. Historically, every one has taken out by that spot in radium by the bridge. No ever realized it until there were these barricades, these large cement blocks, that were blocking access to that take out and we finally figured out that the property was privately owned by Schickedanz West,” said Councillor Ron Verboom.
Radium had been working with the Columbia Wetland Stewardship partners to get sanitary sites along the river. They were looking to establish put in and take out sites for boaters and paddlers along the river, in places they could safely offer the public and manage sanitary facilities.
“So as result of that, we looked at where the places were in Radium that has been used un officially for years. Everyone assumed it was crown land. When we did some digging, (it) turns out it was private land. We went to work to speak with the landowner and as luck had it, he was looking to divest himself of that so we discussed it and he very generously donated it to the village,” Said Mayor Clara Reinhardt.
The community had money set aside for green space that they were going to use to acquire the property when the landowner, Schickedanz West, graciously donated the location to the village. Currently, the papers transferring the land ownership is at the lawyers’ office and the process is underway.
“We’ve worked him in the past; he’s a well know developer and hes very generous to our community,” said Mayor Reinhardt.
Once the transfer goes through, the barricades will be removed to make the launch accessible from the road but will still be on site to block people from camping in the area. The village hopes that will help with maintaing the cleanliness of the site.
“The plan is to make the approach and parking area safer and more accessible. We’ll start out with some Porta Potties because it is essentially flood plains so we need to probably manage that a little bit until we figure out if permanent is even feasible. Porta Potties are environmentally easier to manage,” said Mayor Reinhardt.
The Village of Radium has big plans for the future of the newly acquired land, which is why they are choosing to keep barriers on the property to protect the land.
“We see potential down the road for some trails to go in do wetlands and do some nature trails thats down the road potentially,” said Mayor Reinhardt.
This summer, boater and paddlers are welcome to use the new official boat launch for their summer fun. The public can expect to see the new additions such as Porta Potties, as well as bear proof garbages and picnic tables added in the near future.