July 29, 2015 - 2:30 PM
KELOWNA - Stormy weather last winter has left behind a sandbar in Okanagan Lake big enough to shut down the city’s busiest boat launch.
Located near the mouth of Mission Creek, the Cook Road boat launch will be closed for a week at the height of the summer boating season for dredging, park planning manager Terry Barton says.
“We don’t want to have to shut down then but it’s urgent that we get this done as soon as possible. There is concern for boater safety as the boat launch has been marginalized. All it would take is a big storm where people have to get back to the boat launch in a hurry and there’s this big sandbar sitting there.”
Barton says the weather that flushed huge amounts of sand down Mission Creek likely happened between November and March and has been described as a 20-year weather event.
Including Cook Road, Kelowna has five public boat launches on Okanagan Lake, with Water Street and Queensway downtown, Sutherland Bay in the North End and Cedar Creek Park in the South Mission.
Barton says the city does get complaints about what some see as the lack of public boat launches but opposition from potential neighbours and environmental regulations makes developing new boat launches a difficult proposition.
“There is no question that some people would like to see greater levels of investment in boat launches. But there is also the question of taking taxation dollars from everybody for something that is somewhat elite. Boat owners, if they can afford to boat, can likely afford a few bucks more to launch it. So we’re better to work with what we have and develop higher quality user pay facilities.”
Cook Road boat launch will be closed from Aug. 10 to 16. A company from Calgary has been hired to do the dredging work for a project that will likely cost over $100,000 when complete.
Barton says the company will be using a special boat equipped with a huge suction pipe that will suck up the sand and deposit it onshore into four giant plastic bags 100 feet long and 45 feet wide.
The sand will be left to drain, then screened and treated before being used to bolster the shoreline at Rotary Beach Park, which is subject to active scouring from the lake.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015