KELOWNA - As calls for making the City’s foreshore more accessible heighten, Kelowna mayor Colin Basran is turning to the provincial government for advice on how to proceed.
Due to recent and ongoing flooding, many docks on Okanagan Lake in Kelowna have been destroyed. The absence of these structures have prompted some Kelowna residents to capitalize on the timing, and push for an accessible foreshore.
“Ideally there would be no docks along the foreshore, but I think the best we can hope for is to at least have them be accessible, with the required stairs on either side,” Al Janusas says. “It’s the best time for these waterfront homeowners to do this because it’s the least disruptive and least expensive because they will have the construction crews in anyways.”
Janusas is the founder of PLANKelowna, a group advocating for further public access to Kelowna’s foreshore.
Mayor Basran inked the following letter to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations:
Dear Minister Thomson,
I am writing to request your direction regarding the unprecedented flood damage this year in Kelowna - in particular how your Ministry expects our residents to begin the process of replacing or repairing the multitude of docks and walls destroyed or damaged by flood waters.
Since the City of Kelowna has no jurisdiction for docks, fences and walls built on Crown land below the high-water mark on Okanagan Lake, we rely on the provincial authorization process to approve these works.
Along with all the water, we are now being inundated with calls from our citizens seeking direction on how to proceed with the rebuilding process. So far, we have seen a bulletin from the Province advising residents to do nothing until the lake recedes and foreshore assessments can be made. Does your Ministry have any plans to communicate how residents can begin the rebuilding process?
We have been directing callers to Front Counter B.C., but Kelowna City Council would prefer our residents have more guidance on the process and Council is looking to your Ministry to provide the required public communication on this matter.
The subject of docks, walls and fences obstructing the public foreshore is a longstanding concern to many who live here and want to see public access to our waterfront maintained. Advocacy groups and citizens see the current situation as an opportunity for your Ministry to take a leadership role and ensure all reconstruction takes place with public access as a key consideration of the approval process.
At your earliest convenience, I would appreciate some communication from you on how the Ministry intends to address this pressing concern in Kelowna.
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