December 03, 2012 - 5:17 PM
The community has stood strong against a resort's plans to develop South Bay since 2004, and must now hope their protest was strong enough to hold sway in what is ultimately a provincial decision.
The group Friends of South Bay recently submitted a formal complaint to the provincial government urging that Vernon's Outback Resort not be permitted to develop a 72-slip marina in a bay cherished by the community. The group says the marina will restrict public access and cause environmental issues such as interference with Kokanee salmon spawning. They say it will also affect the area's drinking water and create danger for people swimming in the bay.
Friends of South Bay approached council Nov. 26, asking them to reaffirm decisions made in 2004 that South Bay stay off limits to the resort.
Council agreed that the bay must remain untouched.
"I stand by what we believe should be done to keep an ease of access there," says Vernon city councillor Patrick Nicol.
Nicol says Outback Resort hasn't upheld its end of the bargain since permits were given in 2004.
"In 2004 there was a permit to do (the development) a certain way, and that hasn't been followed through on."
Nicol says the resort must receive an OK from 4-5 jurisdictions before construction of the marina can commence. He added that some of those authorities have already given their consent without getting all the information. He says the final decision makers—BC's Integrated Land Management Bureau—are waiting to get all the facts before deciding South Bay's fate.
Nicol says that when this conflict between the resort and the community began in 2004, the parks department looked into purchasing some lake front land to use as public green space. If they had made that land acquisition—which they did not—things wouldn't be where they are for South Bay today.
"I've been out there and I agree with the (Friends of South Bay) submission," says Coun. Catherine Lord.
"I see no need for that particular development to have two bays."
Lord says the resort has Quarry Bay and that is enough.
Outback Resort insists Quarry Bay is a poor location for their temporary marina because of a susceptibility to lake storms.
Nicol applauds Friends of South Bay for all their "particular answers" to Outback's points.
But the local movement may have reached its zenith as the final say now rests with provincial authorities.
"We're just going to have to wait and see," says Lord.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012