November 10, 2015 - 2:30 PM
VERNON - A controversial marina proposal on Okanagan Lake has resurfaced.
The Outback Resort has once again applied for permission from the provincial government to build a 72-slip marina in South Bay near Ellison Provincial Park and that’s put a local community group on the defensive.
The Friends of South Bay has been boycotting the marina since 2004, and refuses to sit back now that the proposal is once again on the table.
Representative Kim Nasipayko outlined the group’s concerns at a Vernon City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 9. She told council the marina would be harmful to Kokanee salmon, a protected clam species, and other wildlife, as well as a danger to swimmers. Other issues, she said, is the marina would impact water quality and restrict public access to the bay.
“It’s not just our space,” Nasipayko said of area residents. “It’s the space of the community.”
The resort already has a marina in nearby Quarry Bay, but says it’s not a good location due to lake storms.
In February 2013, the Crown land adjudicator denied the resort’s request to build a marina in South Bay, and the Friends of South Bay thought that was the end of it.
“(The adjudicator) has reiterated that the local government, its opinion weighs heavily on his decision. He said it could make for a short decision, but he would like to deal with it indefinitely because here we are less than two years later, we’ve spent more money, we’re wasting more resources, and here we are talking abut it all over again. The design hasn’t changed, nothing has changed, the fish habitat is still there, the environmental concerns still exist. So we’re just asking for some help,” Nasipayko said.
Vernon council doesn’t have the authority to nix the proposal, but it has reserved the right to forward its opinion on the project to the Ministry of Environment. It’s expected to make that stance known at the next council meeting on Nov. 23.
Previous councils have upheld the position that South Bay be left alone.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015