EDITORIAL: Shuswap consensus must be found

Middle ground is vital when it comes to boat regulations on the Shuswap River

It’s easy for differing opinions to remain firm and for emotions to run high. However, there are also times where those separate viewpoints can sit down at the table and find common ground.

And that appears to be the case with the contentious issue of boat restrictions in a portion of the Shuswap River watershed.

Members of the Shuswap Upper River Motorized Vessel Management Advisory Committee have reached conditional consensus on recommendations for future management of motorized vessels from Mabel Lake to the headwaters, excluding Sugar and Greenbush lakes.

It includes a 15 horsepower restriction between Mabel Lake and Wilsey Dam while side channels and tributaries would be closed to motorized vessels. There would be no motorized vessels above Wilsey Dam to the headwaters excluding Sugar and Greenbush lakes and specified river crossings above Sugar Lake.

The next step is for the advisory committee to get input from Lumby and Cherryville residents over the plan before taking it to the Regional District of North Okanagan for consideration.

Obviously the fact that various stakeholder groups could hammer out a conditional agreement is positive as the use of the watershed is vital for social, economic and environmental reasons and balance among all of those interests is needed.

Now let’s hope that the co-operative nature of the upper river talks spills over into the lower river discussions, where the concept of boat regulations has been particularly heated in the Enderby area.

Consensus can be found if everyone is willing to remain open and work together.