The City of Vernon is opposing plans to relocate a private marina on Okanagan Lake.
On Monday, council reaffirmed a 2004 decision that South Bay not be used by the Outback strata on Eastside Road for boat storage.
“It was agreed that South Bay would not be a marina and that has never changed,” said Coun. Patrick Nicol. “Public access to South Bay is historical.”
The Outback strata has applied to the provincial government to construct a 72-slip marina in South Bay because the existing facility in Quarry Bay is subject to damage by storms.
While the city identified the location of a marina during the development permit stage for the Outback in 2004, officials admit the agreement with the strata is voluntary and not legally binding.
“We have no authority over the lake,” said Leon Gous, chief administrative officer.
“Enforcement is with the provincial and federal governments and our resolution doesn’t oblige the feds and the province to do anything. If the province approves the marina, there’s not a lot we can do about it.”
Council is asking the province to extend the public input process for the application.
“Postponement benefits both groups,” said Nicol of the strata and residents who have concerns.
Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, has approached the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations about the process.
“There are all kinds of opportunities for public input,” said Foster.
“The ministry told me the process is at the very beginning.”
The Outback strata insists that a marina no longer makes sense in Quarry Bay because kokanee habitat only permitted a temporary structure.
“Given that we are not permitted to install a more solid, permanent structure, the marina and breakwater are forced to cope with wave action that temporary structures cannot withstand,” states a letter from the strata’s marina facilities committee.
“Adults and children caught on the docks were being heaved around violently. Safety is as much a part of our rationale to move to South Bay as structural damage.”
The committee states the marina would only occupy the western half of South Bay, with the eastern half open for others.
“We believe there is more than enough room for us and our immediate southern neighbour.”
Concerns about the proposed marina have come from some area residents including Kim Napasaiko.
“The basis of damage to their personal property is hardly a sufficient reason to propose such a large and invasive structure with so many negative implications,” said Napasaiko in a letter to the city.
“Some of those are property values, fish habitat, safety and swimming issues, drinking water and navigation on the water.” The proposed marina will completely restrict public access to the bay and neighbouring private properties.”
No one from the Outback’s marina facilities committee could be reached for comment.