The City of Vernon is charting new waters when it comes to a contentious Okanagan Lake project.
Council agreed Monday to endorse the Outback Resort’s bid for a marina in South Bay although the city has protested such a move before.
“Whether they take our suggestions into consideration is up to them,” said Coun Catherine Lord of Front Counter B.C., a provincial agency that is processing the application for a marina.
While the resort wants 72 slips, the city would only like 65 slips and it’s insisting that all of the resort’s buoys in Quarry and South bays be removed and the foreshore lease for the buoys be terminated.
Coun. Scott Anderson says there is a need to improve safety on the water and a marina does that.
“The buoys are all over the place and boats are travelling through there,” he said.
The Outback wants to construct a 72-slip marina in South Bay because previous facilities in Quarry Bay are damaged frequently by storms. As a result of that, many residents use buoys to moor their boats.
Anderson added that provincial government officials are opposed to a concrete breakwater in Quarry Bay because of kokanee habitat.
“The environmental impact is better in South Bay than Quarry Bay.”
Councillors Bob Spiers and Dalvir Nahal voted against the motion to endorse the Outback’s marina application.
“We don’t have a lot to do with that,” said Nahal, who believes the city has been caught in a matter outside of its jurisdiction.
Spiers says numerous residents have come out against a marina in South Bay.
“Put it where it was originally regulated in Quarry bay,” he said.
The Outback welcomes council’s decision.
“We as a group of residents worked hard to enunciate the full issues necessary for council to make a decision,” said Sidney Hanson, with the resort’s strata.
“Council heard us and understood us.”
In terms of council wanting 65 slips instead of 72, Hanson says all available slips are important for the 161 homes.
“We want to be very mindful and sensitive to what the city wants.”
Hanson also agrees that once the marina is constructed that buoys needed to be removed.
“We will do everything possible to make the marina accessible and environmentally sensitive.”
The city’s reversal on the matter upset Kim Nasipayko, a resident who has fought against the South Bay marina.
“The real facts are being lost in safety issues. There are safety issues in both bays,” she said, adding that kokanee habitat exisst there and residents draw their water from South Bay.
“The only buoys owned by the Outback are six so I’m not sure how they think they can control the buoys.”
Coun. Brian Quiring was absent Monday.