The gate to Grant Narrows Park reopened to the public July 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Disrepair of boat launch poses risk, says user

Deteriorating dock and lack of monitoring of Grant Narrows and Pitt Lake potentially dangerous: Boater

Max Nobbs-Thiessen is concerned about the state of the boat launch at Grant Narrows Regional Park.

The 38-year-old, who has been a member of the Pitt Meadows Marina for the past two years, took a trip to the park on Aug. 9, and said what he found was a dock in terrible condition.

“The dock is framed out of wood and portions of that were rotten or fallen off,” noted the Vancouver resident who grew up in the Tri Cities area.

He also found exposed bolts and nails on the edges of the dock.

“I wouldn’t say there are nails sticking up, but it’s very rough. If you pulled your boat up to the dock, you could easily get it dinged up pretty badly,” he said, adding that the dock itself doesn’t float level – with portions of the dock at a weird angles.

“It just looks to be in a general state of disrepair,” said the long-time boater.

READ MORE: Grant Narrows Regional Park open to the public

The gate leading to the park’s day area and boat launch was locked on May 8, when the Katzie Development Limited Partnership left the site because of liability issues regarding the dock and the absence of an operating agreement with the province.

At that time only cabin owners were given access to the docks and launch area.

The park re-opened to the public on July 17. However, there is still no operator for the site.

Since then the province has been both directly and indirectly monitoring the amount of people using the park following physical distancing guidelines set out by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, said Tyler Hooper, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“Given the intense pressure and keen interest in accessing the site – despite the gate being closed – suggested keeping the gate closed during the day was not achieving its intended impact of reducing activity and risks at the site,” Hooper said via email.

READ MORE: Pitt Lake cabin owners – only – allowed access to Grant Narrows Park boat launch

The ministry is getting occasional reports about the site from neighbouring residents and operators in the area, the spokesperson noted Friday, adding that they are making occasional visits to the park to, “inspect the situation.”

“However, we do not have any regular staff presence on site,” he said.

There is also no significant update to report, added Hooper, regarding the future management of the site.

Nobbs-Thiessen is also concerned about the lack of B.C. Parks presence in the park, especially in cases of emergency or distress for those on the water.

Although the day he visited wasn’t busy, Nobbs-Thiessen and his father-in-law – who were in two separate boats, found a person in a little inflatable dingy with a dead electric motor, near Goose Island, about five kilometres north on the lake. They towed the boater back to the main park area.

The same day, Nobbs-Thiessen also witnessed a man on a jet ski helping a person with a capsized canoe. The man on the jet ski was pulling the partially submerged canoe back to shore with somebody lying on the top of it holding a ski rope, he said.

“Thankfully nobody was hurt,” said Nobbs-Thiessen, feeling that with increased traffic to Grant Narrows and a lack of presence by B.C. Parks, the combination is potentially dangerous.

Pitt Meadows Marina on the north end of Reichenbach Road in Pitt Meadows is the next closest marina providing access to Pitt Lake.

Dora Nisipeanu, manager of the marina, estimates the ride to Pitt Lake from her marina, to be an average of 45 minutes.

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