The City of Vernon has punched holes into a regional boat launch study.
Council is demanding that the North Okanagan Regional District revise a draft report on boat launches because it believes some issues have not been addressed and the scope of the study was limited.
“Hopefully Greater Vernon will look at it and if they redo the study, they will take our concerns into account,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.
The primary concern is that the study consultant focused primarily on Okanagan Lake and not on Kalamalka and Swan lakes.
“There is rowing on Swan Lake as well as boaters and fishermen,” said Lippert.
Lippert suggests the consultant was under influence not to consider motorized boats on Kal Lake.
“Some of the politicians didn’t want much focus on it for whatever reason,” he said.
The study recommends upgrades to the existing motorized boat launch at Paddlewheel Park on Okanagan Lake as well as at other locations on the lake.
“The proposed improvements would provide the opportunity for increased intensity of use in a concentrated way as the proposed launch areas surround the lake, introducing more users as well as more potential conflict between users,” said Brooke Marshall, the city’s environmental planner, in a report.
“No additional motorized boat launch facilities are recommended for Kalamalka Lake and only one of the three existing motorized facilities is recommended to be maintained for this user group.”
Marshall points out that both lakes have drinking water pressures, sensitive habitat and recreational demands.
“A more balanced approach to enhancing boat launch facilities should be taken,” she said.
Dale Rintoul, a city planner, is more blunt about the situation.
“They aren’t dealing with the motorized boat issue on Kal Lake,” he said.
“They purposely left it out of the (study’s) terms of reference.”
The city has eight access sites along Okanagan Lake and five have been upgraded for a total cost of $362,250.
“The cost of the proposed boat launch improvements to these and other city-owned sites is not addressed in the report,” said Marshall.
“There is no discussion of potential funding arrangements or partnership models which include the City of Vernon.”