The Porritt Landing boat launch and docking facility in Hay River has officially opened for the summer.
Unlike many other recreational facilities, boat launches have not been caught up in the restrictions imposed by the GNWT because of the Covid-19 crisis.
The Emerging Wisely document released last month by the territorial government on easing the restrictions described boat launches as low risk in their outdoor settings.
However, Emerging Wisely did recommend some mitigation measures for boat launches, including physical distancing, capacity based on space and more.
Porritt Landing’s seasonal passes came into effect on June 1, Stephane Millette, the recreation director with the Town of Hay River, told council’s online meeting on June 2.
“A few people have launched their boats already and we’ve received good feedback regarding the upgrades to the boat launch from last year,” he said. “And it sounds like all boats were launched very well, including some bigger boats.”
Millette said he was happy to hear that, noting he is keeping in touch with some of the people that have bigger vessels at the facility.
“We have identified further work that’s required,” he told council. “We’re hoping it’s for this year.”
The town has submitted two grant applications – one to CanNor and the other to the territorial government’s Community Access Program – for additional repairs and upgrades. Plus, the town is looking into submitting a funding proposal to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.
A number of projects have taken place over the last couple of years to improve Porritt Landing, including the addition of finger docks.
A $40,000 dredging project last year removed silt that had built up over the years. That work was funded by the GNWT.
Town council was also expected to pass final reading on June 9 of an updated bylaw for the operation of Porritt Landing. The updated bylaw includes docking fees and other rules for use of the recreational facility.
Porritt Landing is popular with boaters to access the Hay River.
“We enjoy everything about the water, the fishing, just the scenery,” said Waynne Snelgrove, while launching his boat for a family outing on June 6.
Snelgrove believes Porritt Landing is important for boaters who want to enjoy the river and take advantage of the recreational opportunity.