Vernon resort makes case for contentious marina on Okanagan Lake
By Charlotte Helston
The Outback Resort is made up of 161 separate residences on Okanagan Lake.
Image Credit: www.outbacklakeside.com
November 23, 2015 - 6:30 PM
VERNON - Those pushing for a new marina on Okanagan Lake say safety is at stake if the project is blocked.
The proposal for a 72-slip marina for the Outback Resort has been a controversial one. A neighbourhood group called the Friends of South Bay are fiercely opposed, citing environmental impacts, water quality concerns and access issues if the marina goes ahead.
A request for a marina in South Bay has already been denied by the Crown land adjudicator, but the resort has since reapplied for permission to build.
Sidney Hanson, a spokesperson for the Marina Committee and the Outback Resort community, insists South Bay is the best place for a marina. He said the marina built in nearby Quarry Bay was destroyed by storms numerous times over the past few years.
“Our residents have been in great danger while on that marina during a storm,” Hanson said at today, Nov. 23, Vernon City Council meeting.
Hanson said Quarry Bay is prone to lake storms, but that the sheltered South Bay is much more suitable for a marina. He added South Bay, unlike Quarry Bay, is not identified as critical environment for Kokanee salmon, making it a better location for a marina.
Hanson also pointed out the waters between Ellison Provincial Park and the Outback Resort are covered with about 100 buoys all in a ‘helter-skelter’ manner, something that could change with a new marina in South Bay. He said the vast majority of the buoys are owned by members of the Outback community and that they could be replaced with slips at the marina.
“That’s the idea, there’s no question it will require cooperation from residents,” Hanson said. “We do have control over about 40 of them and they will go away.”
Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund described the marina as one of the most contentious issues before council, having generated numerous emails and letters from both opponents and supporters.
Council doesn’t have the final say on the project — that’s a decision for the Ministry of Environment — but it does the opportunity to forward its position to the provincial government. Whether council supports the marina or not is believed to hold considerable weight with the Ministry of Environment, Mund said, adding he'd like to see the issue finally resolved.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015