North Okanagan Regional District seeks bigger muscles in fight against mussels

113 tickets issued to people who failed to stop at mandatory check stops this year

The Regional District of North Okanagan will write to the province requesting more enforcement in the fight against invasive zebra and quagga mussels.

“We’re playing with fire,” RDNO director Brian Quiring said. “We have to ramp this program up.”

Quiring said he doesn’t believe current boat checks at B.C.’s borders are sufficient enough.

Inspector Aaron Canuel, the officer in charge of the Invasive Mussel Defence Program, said inspectors are still hard at work monitoring the borders.

Twelve locations, including one in Osoyoos and one roving station based out of Penticton will continue inspecting watercraft until Oct. 26.

If boaters skip out at a mandatory watercraft check point, the fine is $345.

In 2019, 113 tickets were issued to individuals who didn’t stop at a check point. Eighty-two tickets and 50 warnings were issued by conservation officers in 2018.

“We keep them going for that exact reason,” Canuel said. “Even though the main watercraft season is May until the end of August, but if you have nice weather, you still have people getting out and enjoying the water.

“So we still keep our parameter defence up and running.”

If they didn’t, and the invasive species was to find its way into British Columbia waters, it could cost around $43 million every year to repair, mitigate and defend against the damages caused by the mussels, Canuel said. That number does not include the cost effects on real estate or social values.

“That’s harder to put a value on.”

If the waters of Okanagan Lake were to become infested, Canuel said that could be detrimental to tourism and general enjoyment of the Okanagan’s popular beaches.

“Say those water bodies were to become infested like Lake Winnipeg, where you’re ankle-deep in shells, people may just stop coming,” he said.

The invasive mussel species have spread across North America and their introduction puts water quality at risk, damages infrastructure, creates hazards on beaches, endangers fish, affects the existing ecology and threatens property values.

Watercraft includes sailboats, motorboats, car toppers, kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.

READ MORE: Armstrong middle school gets cash for ‘extreme learning’ playground

READ MORE: Curb appeal cost not appealing to some Vernon residents

— with files from the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Vernon overdose prevention site needed: mother

Sandra Welton asks for update on planned site she believes would have saved her late daughter

4 arrests, 6 pounds of drugs and $30,000 seized: Vernon RCMP

Suspected drug traffickers believed to supply Vernon, Enderby and Revelstoke

Fuel Good Day has most successful year to date with $680,000 raised

The Sept. 17 fundraiser beat last year’s amount by $80,000

Viral video sensation brings skills to Vernon

Jacob Moon joins Hear the Music for concert and workshop

Haunted happenings revealed with Vernon ghost tours

Two unique versions of ghost tours offered

VIDEO: Shuswap resident’s yard becomes nighttime thoroughfare for grizzlies

Malakwa man has captured images of 12 different grizzlies on video

UBC issues statement after instructor tells students to vote for Liberal Party

University says partisan messaging was not intentional

Cowichan Valley brothers win big in lottery for second time

Playing same numbers net big wins over a three year period

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Sentencing date set for Vancouver Island father convicted of killing his two daughters

Andrew Berry was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder last month

B.C. woman finds mysterious coin among Grandma’s collection

Grandmother died when she was very young and her past is not well known to her mother

Morning Start: Should you actually shake a Polaroid photo?

Your morning start for Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Women, girls in Shuswap demonstrate a creative demand for the vote

One of the women, described as a ‘raging suffragette,’ is the aunt of resident Phil Wright

Advanced polls saw 4.7 million Canadians cast their ballots in the 2019 federal election

That’s a 29 per cent increase from advance polling in 2015

Most Read