The boat launch in Selkirk Park remains closed out of an abundance of caution due to high river levels and fast-moving water.
Selkirk CAO Duane Nicol said the city takes public safety very seriously and it will not put the public, city staff or Selkirk Firefighters in a situation that is less than reasonably safe.
“While we know that a small number of people have expressed concerns on social media about being inconvenienced because they have to drive a bit farther to launch their boats in a more safe area, we’ll be strictly following our safety protocols for the benefit of Selkirk residents, staff, and our volunteer first responders,” Nicol said.
“If something were to happen it’s our volunteer firefighters who have to risk their lives in an unsafe environment to respond and it’s the taxpayers of Selkirk who have to pay for that. As a public entity we take public safety very seriously and have a higher level of responsibility.”
Selkirk's location creates a higher risk
Brady Clark, Director of Culture, Recreation and Green Transportation, said the city’s boat launch is somewhat unique, in that its location on the river without a breakwater means there will be times, albeit rarely, that the water will be too dangerous to put the launch into operation.
The city has been in discussions with the Province of Manitoba’s Senior Hydrologic Engineer who said the flow this year is significantly stronger than most years.
Clark said the city was told where the boat launch is the typical flow is 500 cubic meters per second when the launch is put in. Right now, the flow is nearly double at 905 cubic meters per second. There have been some years when the boat launch was installed at 700 cm/s, but not higher.
According to the engineer, 900 cm/s, it would take about four times more force to remain at rest in the water when compared to a normal year. This applies to people putting the boat launch in, the docks and boaters using the launch.
“The decision to use barricades at the docks was to reduce dangers to boaters using the ramp and launching a boat,” Clark said.
“For inexperienced, or even experienced, users this high-water flow could be an issue. It’s significantly greater force than normal. The fire department has raised concerns about entering the water for boaters in an emergency situation.
“The good news out of this is the river is trending back towards normal river levels.”
Keeping the public and city staff and volunteers safe aligns with the city’s Strategic Plan Priority 1 that calls for a vibrant, safe and healthy community.
Based on when the boat launch opens, the city will consider whether passes – which are already significantly discounted and very reasonably priced – will be pro-rated for the season.
Check back HERE to see if the boat launch is open.