Skip to main content

Amherstburg council votes to explore public boat launch at Ranta Park

The location of a boat launch at River Canard Yacht Club in Amherstburg, Ont. on April 22, 2024. (Rich Garton/ CTV Windsor News) The location of a boat launch at River Canard Yacht Club in Amherstburg, Ont. on April 22, 2024. (Rich Garton/ CTV Windsor News)

The town of Amherstburg may one day soon have a public boat launch at the K. Walter Ranta Memorial Park after agreeing to move forward with a plan, despite the multi-million dollar price-tag.

A report to council outlined costs to build a public boat launch, and ample parking could cost between $1.6 million and $5 million, but the cost didn’t scare away the majority of council from asking administration to start the process.

“This is our last piece of real property that we could actually turn into public access for boating. And so to me, there's no other option on the table,” said Coun. Peter Courtney, who put forward the motion to move ahead. “That was my question to staff tonight, tell me another location that is doable and there is none, so it seems like a no brainer to proceed down this path.”

“I believe every river town along the banks of Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Detroit River, you should secure that one little bit of real estate to make sure the residents always have public access to the river,” he said.

That motion was supported by all but one councillor, Linden Crain, who argued the cost was too high, especially considering it would be competing with a business right next door.

Rodney Ferriss, the president of the AMA Sportsmen Association, said private launches exist, but the town needs to consider securing a launch for future generations and not leave it in the hands of the private sector.

“It's the only town that I know of in Essex County that is on water that does not have a public access boat launch, and we need it,” said Ferriss after the meeting.

Council sold the abutting marina back in 2010 but kept the grassy lands next to it, where K. Walter Ranta Memorial Park sits.

The marina the town sold, called the River Canard Yacht Club, is now owned by Jones Realty and it operates a private boat launch at a cost of $20.

A report to council laid out costs of building a public launch, which would also have to include parking and a new road to provide access to the launch.

Even with the steep price-tag, Courtney said he’d like to see a phased approach and have the matter appear in a future capital budget.

“I have no problem moving and shaking that capital, no disrespect to staff,” he said. “We’ll take a look at the long-term plan and again it was referenced that maybe it’s outside of the five-year, but I think we can start earmarking money today.” Top Stories

Stay Connected