No quick decision is expected on a proposed boat ban on sections of the Shuswap River.
It could be January or February before the Regional District of North Okanagan has a firm direction on possibly pursuing restrictions on motorized vessels from south Mabel Lake upstream to Shuswap Falls and from Trinity Valley Road upstream to the eastern end of Skookumchuck Rapids Park.
“We’re waiting for the outcome of the public questionnaires to decide where we will go with this,” said Herman Halvorson, director.
“Absolutely no decision has been made. We have to finish off the process and that may take some time.”
While some sections of the river could see motorized boats banned, it’s proposed that there be a vessel engine size limit of 10 horsepower from Mara Lake upstream to Trinity Valley Road.
The ultimate decision on restrictions would be made by Transport Canada if the regional district decides to pursue the matter further.
“The development of the Shuswap River watershed sustainability plan and subsequent consideration of boating regulations were in response to concerns regarding the Shuswap River watershed that have been raised within the community and with the regional board over the last 22 years,” said Anna Page, sustainability co-ordinator, in a report.
“The SRWSP reflects the values, concerns and areas of interest of community members who participated in the planning process, one of which was the impact of motorized boats on land owners, other users and the natural environment.”
As part of the process, more than 2,000 surveys have been received from the public about boat regulations.
“Staff and a consultant are in the process of reviewing and analyzing this feedback and will endeavour to provide a summary and options moving forward in the coming months,” said Page.
The potential future actions by the RDNO board include applying to Transport Canada for boat regulations, considering alternative regulations and not applying to Transport Canada.
The current process covers from Shuswap Falls to Mara Lake, but there is always the possibility of a phase two in the future.
“There are a number of residents from the dam to Sugar Lake who believe they should have been part of the process and want action,” said Bob Fleming, Electoral Area Advisory Committee chairperson.