Shuswap ban focus of report

RDNO says there’s a need to set the record straight about a proposed Shuswap River boat ban.

Regional District of North Okanagan officials say there’s a need to set the record straight about a proposed Shuswap River boat ban.

On Wednesday, the board instructed staff to prepare a summary of events leading up to the establishment of the Shuswap River watershed sustainability plan and consideration of boating regulations.

“There are questions as to how we got to the regulations,” said director Juliette Cunningham.

“We are getting e-mails all of the time.”

There has been considerable public debate about  possibly prohibiting motorized vessels from south Mabel Lake upstream to Shuswap Falls and from Trinity Valley Road upstream to the eastern end of Skookumchuck Rapids Park.

It’s also suggested that there be a vessel engine size limit of 10 horsepower from Mara Lake upstream to Trinity Valley Road.

RDNO’s intent is to improve recreational safety, reduce bank erosion, reduce disturbance to salmon spawning grounds and minimize conflicts between river users.

However, some residents have accused the regional district of unfairly moving ahead with a process that will restrict access to the river, and particularly for those who own waterfront.

Director Bob Fleming supports the report outlining RDNO’s actions.

“People say there’s a lack of consultation but it will show the consultation,” he said.

Herman Halvorson, who is director for much of the Shuswap River area, requested that a summary report be developed.

“A lot of people are unfamiliar with the process,” he said, adding that RDNO first looked at boating regulations in 1992.

“We want everyone to know why it started.”

If RDNO continues to proceed with the proposed regulations, the federal government would make the final decision on whether they are implemented.