A proposed marina on Okanagan Lake continues to make waves.
A group known as Friends of South Bay has submitted a formal complaint to the provincial government over the Outback Resort’s bid for a 72-slip marina on Eastside Road.
“It makes a strong and valid case as to why the application should not be approved,” said Sheldon Trainor, a Friends of South Bay member.
The group, which consists of adjacent residents, says the Outback already has approval for a marina in Quarry Bay and a South Bay facility will impede public access and could impact water quality.
“Kokanee are spawning there. It’s environmentally sensitive habitat,” said Trainor.
Three regulatory agencies have already approved the proposal but a final decision has not come from B.C.’s Integrated Land Management Bureau.
“We’d like all of the information to be taken into account,” said Kim Nasipayko, a resident.
“We’d like to work with the Outback. We’re not saying, ‘Get off our doorstep.’ We’d like to share and share alike.”
Robert Moffat, a lawyer representing the Friends of South Bay, believes the group’s case is strong.
“There was an agreement signed between the Outback and the city and the regional district and it’s an enforceable agreement,” he said.
During the 2004 permit process for developing the resort, the city stated the marina must be in Quarry Bay. However, city officials have previously stated the agreement is not legally binding.
On Monday, city council reaffirmed decisions in 2004 and 2001 that South Bay not be used by the Outback for boat storage.
An Outback spokesperson insists that Quarry Bay is not suitable for a marina because of lake storms putting lives and property at risk.
“We had a marina there and our experience over four or five years was that it’s an unsuitable place for a temporary marina,” said Darrel Zacharias, with the marina facilities committee.
“We are not allowed to put a permanent marina there because of government regulations and sensitive fish spawning habitat there.”
Zacharias doesn’t challenge the claims that there is kokanee in South Bay.
“The information presented in our application package was obtained from the government and they are encouraging us to move from Quarry Bay to South Bay because they say it is a less active kokanee spawning area,” he said.
Zacharias says the Outback is open to a compromise that works for both the resort and adjacent residents.
“If the agencies who approve it say they don’t like a part of it and ask if we will consider changing it, we will,” he said.
The facilities committee has stated that a South Bay marina would be regulated for noise and garbage and fuel would not be allowed on the dock to prevent spills.
A government spokesperson would only confirm that the Outback application is under review.