The citizens of Golden and area are gaining the support of thousands of Canadians, including the public and political support of notable Canadian Olympian and Senator Nancy Greene Raine.
In an official question to the federal Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau, Green Raine said:
“Honourable Minister Garneau, I hope you might already know of a crisis facing the beautiful town of Golden in British Columbia.? The Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River is the jewel of the white water rafting world. It is an incredible experience enjoyed by over 15,000 adventure seekers from around the world and its economic impact is well over $3 million for the town of 3,800 people.
“All this is being threatened by CP Rail banning the seven rafting companies from crossing their tracks to access the river, something they have been doing for more than 30 years without a problem.
“It seems CP Rail is responding to a directive from Transport Canada to ‘meet new safety guidelines but the timing couldn’t be worse’. A solution must be found immediately as bookings are already being impacted.
Will you do everything in your power to encourage CP Rail to find an interim solution to save the rafting season, which starts in just over a month? There are solutions being proposed, both for this summer and for the long term. Thank you.
“I would appreciate a reply, as would the people of Golden.”
Response to the community’s concern has been considerable, with all three levels of government providing resources to ensure a quick resolution to this critical issue.
“We’ve been pleased with the assistance that we have received from representatives of Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency, as well as support and resources from government staff at the provincial level,” Golden’s Mayor Ron Oszust said in a recent statement.
“Concrete proposals for immediate short-term solutions have been developed by the rafting companies and local government to ensure that the access to the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River will be guaranteed for the start of the rafting season on the May long weekend. It’s up to CP Rail to implement a solution, and put this issue to rest.”
Norm Macdonald, MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke, who has been working directly with Minister Shirley Bond of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and Minister Todd Stone of Transportation and Infrastructure, also expressed appreciation to the province for their commitment to finding a resolution.
“Both Minister Bond and Minister Stone were immediately interested in getting involved with this issue,” he said. “They have provided considerable staff time towards working with the community to find a quick solution, and working directly with CP Rail to ensure that this rafting season is not lost.
“The groundswell of support in our community for ensuring access to the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River has been overwhelming. I have to agree with Mayor Oszust when he says that it is clear that the community will not stand for a continued closure. The resolve of citizens is absolutely firm; we must retain access to this important community asset.”
The residents and business owners of Golden and area will be showing their support for river users at a public event on Saturday, April 30 at 11 am.
Rafters and other river users will be hosting a Save the Lower Canyon Rally and Float. Rafts will be put in at the municipal campground starting at 11 AM, and will pull out at the Spirit Square where the community will be celebrating the river.
“The whole community is coming together for this event,” said Glacier Raft owner Carmen Narancsik.