“I CAN TELL YOU, BUSINESS OWNERS AND PROPERTY OWNERS ARE GOING TO GO OUT SCREAMING LIKE A LION”
ENDERBY - Proposed boating restrictions on the Shuswap River face fierce opposition, says a local Grindrod resident and waterfront property owner.
Sherri DeCorby has lived on the river for the last 10 years and uses it for paddle boarding, kayaking, waterskiing, and boating with her family. Recreational activities on the water are a big part of why she settled there, but if boating becomes restricted, she’ll consider moving.
“Not only will I be out the money for my Seadoos and (speed) boat, you’re ruining my lifestyle and the whole reason I bought on the river,” DeCorby says.
But it’s not just that. She says the regional district’s arguments for boating restrictions — bank erosion, public safety, and wildlife disturbance — don’t add up. Several years ago, for her own information, DeCorby hired a biologist to study impacts on the river. She was told boats cause minimal erosion, about the same as wind.
“They said the largest cause of erosion is from the high and low (water levels) from a naturally moving body of water,” DeCorby says. “Even if there were no boats on the river, there would still be erosion. I don’t buy this argument that boats are detrimental to the river at all.”
She admits to not being an expert on fish and wildlife, but says the regional district’s evidence is less than convincing. Her own reading, research and observation shows salmon lay their eggs in rocky river bottoms, and that spawning occurs in October, well after summer boating activities end.
As for safety concerns, she says the problem isn’t boaters, but alcohol consumption among river users. It’s not uncommon for drunk tubers to stagger up her property, unsure of where they are. She suggests police enforcement on the river would be a good solution for improving the safety of all users.
“I think there are many things we can do as a community so everyone can be happy on the river,” she says.
She’s not the only one opposed to the regulations. Over 400 people signed a petition DeCorby launched against the proposal. Fishing companies, corner stores which supply snacks for boaters, and bed and breakfasts which tour guests along the river would all be negatively affected, she says.
“These people are going to be devastated by this bylaw,” DeCorby says.
She also takes issue with the process in which these regulations are being brought forward, saying there’s been a profound lack of consultation. A number of seasonal residents who own property on the river won’t even be aware of the proposal until after public consultation has wrapped up, she says.
“They’re quietly bringing this through like a lamb, but I can tell you, business owners and property owners are going to go out screaming like a lion,” she says.
DeCorby is encouraging everyone to attend upcoming public input meetings on the regulations. Two open houses are set for the second week of June, the first at the Enderby Drill Hall, Wednesday, June 10 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the second at Mabel Lake Hall (Lumby end) Thursday, June 11 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
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