The May long weekend is traditionally the official start to summer in the North Okanagan, and that means locals and tourists start enjoying the natural amenities the region offers.
One of those activities, of course, is boating as Okanagan, Kalamalka and Wood lakes are right on our doorstep.
However, this long weekend will be disappointing for many as Coldstream has shut down its three boat launches on Kal and the Regional District of North Okanagan has closed the Paddlewheel Park launch on Okanagan Lake.
Officials are extremely aware of the negative impact this will have on boaters and particularly those who have travelled from the Lower Mainland or the Prairies for some fun. However, these elected officials ultimately made the right choice.
With the lakes reaching unprecedented water levels, there is a very real concern that wave action from boats could create shore erosion and swamp lakeshore properties, potentially causing significant damage.
There is also the reality that swollen creeks are washing unprecedented amounts of debris into the lakes and that puts boaters at risk if they strike a log. Also, many docks are now submerged by water and they also pose a hidden threat.
Some will suggest responsible boaters are being punished because of the actions of those boaters who speed too close to shore. However, it’s difficult for authorities to police the launches and lakes so the simplest solution is closing launches.
Some boat launches remain open and we would urge all boaters to consider those living along the lakes and to be responsible.