CHERRYVILLE - Concerns are brewing around a marina proposal and what it will mean for Sugar Lake.
Sugar Lake Developments Ltd. has applied to the province for permission to replace an existing wooden dock with a new 30-slip marina on Sugar Lake, just north of Cherryville.
The proposal has some locals fearing impacts on the environmental health and tranquility of the lake, and a post titled 'Save Sugar Lake' has generated considerable interest on Facebook.
Debbee Werner, editor of Cherryville’s community newspaper the Cherryvillan, says people are on edge about the proposal due to a bad history with the development’s previous owners.
“The initial reaction has been somewhat spurred by what happened with the previous owners doing illegal things in the riparian zone and planning to put treated sewage straight into the lake,” Werner says.
Not much has happened with the 60-lot lakefront property since those previous owners abandoned the business, although individual parcels remain up for sale in the strata development.
Now that activity is picking up again, locals are questioning whether the new owners will be good neighbours or not.
“We’ve got three different camps,” Werner says. “We’ve got the ones that are pro, we’ve got the ones saying stop the marina, and then those in the middle saying it’s going to happen anyways, let’s work with the new owners and hope that they love Sugar Lake as much as the locals do and will do this is in the best way possible.”
Increased boat traffic on the lake and the risk of gas and oil leakages stemming from the marina are among the community’s concerns, but one way that might be addressed is with regulations. The possibility of restricting boats to a certain horse power or banning motorized vessels altogether has been floated, Werner says.
Area director Hank Cameron says the proposal will be coming to the regional district next month as part of the referral process, but, ultimately, approving the marina is in the hands of the provincial government. He says the existing dock is beyond repair and HE doesn’t have any major concerns with a new 30-slip marina going in.
“I think it’s going to be an advantage for the people that own that resort,” Cameron says. “Other people on the lake might find it busier than they want it to be.”
As for environmental concerns, he’s confident the marina won’t adversely affect the lake.
“I read the (biologist’s) report, there aren’t any species at risk or other values impacted environmentally,” he says.
Feedback on the application is being accepted until Nov. 1 and can be submitted online.
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