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Langley’s renewed boat ramp to open soon

The refurbished boat ramp in Langley Harbor should be ready for public use in a couple of weeks. The metal floats will make it easier to use, but a designated disabled parking space pending for the area seen here has raised some questions by a kayak business owner. - Jim Larsen / The Record
The refurbished boat ramp in Langley Harbor should be ready for public use in a couple of weeks. The metal floats will make it easier to use, but a designated disabled parking space pending for the area seen here has raised some questions by a kayak business owner.
— image credit: Jim Larsen / The Record

The newly refurbished Langley boat ramp may look tempting to seafarers, but they won’t be able to use it for a while, according to Port of South Whidbey Manager Ed Field.

The contractor worked at low tide in the wee hours of the morning to pull out 11 old wood pilings and replaced them with four new metal ones, to which was attached a pair of 20-foot metal floats to make it easier to launch and bring in boats.

“It’s really cool, very nice,” said Jim Sundberg, a Langley city councilman who attended the Dec. 4 Port of South Whidbey meeting. “You can see through them, and I think that was the point.” The ventilated look allows light to flow through to benefit sea life, apparently as required by state biologists. He said he walked on it before red cones were placed in front of the entry to keep people out.

Field replied that the boat ramp isn’t quite finished as there are details left to do. He cited life rings, bolts and other hardware that have to be installed.

When asked Dec. 5 to predict when the public could start using the boat ramp again, he replied “there’s a whole punch list of stuff,” but that it will open “in a few weeks.”

The ramp doesn’t satisfy all users of the Langley Marina area, which is owned and operated by the port. Commissioner Chris Jerome said he received a call from Ed Young, who operates a small kayak excursion business, concerned that a disabled parking space eliminates the last easy access point to the water for kayakers.

“The problem is how to get to the water because the boarding floats are in the way,” Jerome said. “In effect their access to the beach is now blocked.”

“They’re next to an ADA ramp with ADA parking,” Jenkins said, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The problem will be worse at low tide. Most of the marina area is muddy, making it hard to drag a kayak out to the water. The area between the boat ramp and pier is more solid for walking, making kayaking at lower tides easier, Young told the Record last week.

Young said a loading zone rather than an ADA parking space would be more usable to many people, including his kayak, people launching other small boats that can be carried, and the disabled. He emphasized that the port commissioners have always treated his business well and his ideas are just suggestions.

The commissioners were sympathetic but not quick with a solution. Curt Gordon was wary about changing the disabled parking space, which he suggested would be enjoyed by many people.

Commissioner Dennis Gregoire simple threw his hands in the air and said, “The world is crazy. The facility is for boaters and kayakers and it’s designed by biologists.”

 

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