Cosens Bay safety makes waves

Proponents have made their case for a contentious road right-of-way through Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

Proponents have made their case for a contentious road right-of-way through Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.

Members of the Cosens Bay Property Owners Society urged the Regional District of North Okanagan board Wednesday to support a Ministry of Transportation bid to have a 20-metre right-of-way removed from the park so safety and maintenance issues can be addressed along Cosens Bay Road.

“It doesn’t meet ministry standard,” said Rob Johnston, CBPOS spokesperson.

“There is no line of sight. An accident is just waiting to happen.”

However, RDNO has already indicated that it opposes a right-of-way greater than what is needed for safety and drainage measures.

“Everybody agrees safety can be addressed without a great right-of-way swath,” said Doug Dirk, an RDNO board member.

CBPOS insists the ministry’s plan to remove the right-of-way from the park would allow the agency to manage the road, which services residents of the Cosens Bay community as well as park users.

“It’s not just a road leading to a cabin colony. It’s a road leading through a park people love and want to see,” said Robert Hollier, a society director.

Johnston added that motor vehicle accidents, including fuel spills, can negatively impact the environment.

“We enjoy the park. We’re in it all of the time but you need safe roads.”

There have been suggestions that a right-of-way could allow for electricity and other services to  extend to Cosens Bay, which could lead to more development.

Johnston doesn’t deny the prospect of utilities and says possible sewer could protect Kalamalka Lake water quality.

“Our community is developed in a regulated environment and the tax base is significant.”

During its presentation, CBPOS’ representation was challenged.

“Do you represent the majority of people out there? We’ve heard there’s a small number pushing for the road?” said Mike Macnabb. NORD director.

CBPOS has 55 paid members.

“The society represents a majority of the properties out there,” said Peter Rook, with the group.

Juliette Cunningham, RDNO director, insists there must be a balance between a safe road and protecting the natural integrity of the park.

“The ideal thing is to find a compromise so we all believe we’ve won,” she said.

RDNO has requested a delegation from the Ministry of Environment, which oversees the park.

 

“Then we will have all of the viewpoints,” said director Catherine Lord.