Time ticking on effort to buy ecologically valuable lakeshore property on Skaha Lake | Penticton News | iNFOnews

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Time ticking on effort to buy ecologically valuable lakeshore property on Skaha Lake

A citizen's group is hoping to purchase nearly five acres of sensitive Skaha Lake shoreline known as Sickle Point in order to preserve it as a natural park.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Save Sickle Point
September 19, 2020 - 7:00 AM

A community-based, ad hoc committee is working to build a case for the purchase of environmentally sensitive lake frontage for a future nature park.

Sickle Point on Skaha Lake in Kaleden has been in the news for years, as private property owners went head-to-head with environmental and citizens groups wanting to see the nearly five-acre parcel remain in a pristine state.

Save Sickle Point Committee spokesperson Evelyn Kansy said the committee has been working for several years to prevent a five-unit residential subdivision from being built on the property, which was privately owned.

The group put together a 400 signature petition last fall, just prior to the property owner going into receivership.

Kansy says the land sale is now before the courts and the committee believes it is the time to make a move.

Sickle Point in 2005, before a private landowner began developing the property.
Sickle Point in 2005, before a private landowner began developing the property.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Save Sickle Point

“We want to purchase the property in partnership with nature foundations and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen,” Kansy says.

A purchase through taxpayer funding would require a referendum, but with COVID-19 pandemic protocols, a referendum can’t be held right now.

The committee fears a delay could mean the property will be sold to a private owner again.

Kansy says the committee has some environmental and conservation groups interested in partnering in the purchase and the committee has $90,000 in community pledges to purchase the property, currently listed by HM Commercial Group for $3,150,000.

“We’ve been told we need to make an offer to show we mean business,” Kansy says.

The committee’s vision for the property would see it restored as much as possible to its former riparian nature.

Sickle Point along the shore of Skaha Lake near Kaleden in 2018, showing an area cleared by a private landowner.
Sickle Point along the shore of Skaha Lake near Kaleden in 2018, showing an area cleared by a private landowner.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Save Sickle Point

Sickle Point would become an undeveloped nature park with no motorized access and pedestrian access from the Kettle Valley Rail Trail or by boat. Future plans could include a boardwalk through the marsh and a few picnic tables.

The committee would also like to apply to the regional district for a zoning change to parkland to prevent any further attempts to develop the 4.81 acre property, which also contains 1,700-feet of shoreline on Skaha Lake.

A one hour visit to Sickle Point is being arranged for this Sunday, Sept. 20, Save the Sickle Point Committee’s Doreen Olsen said in a recent email.

The gathering will include some invited ecologists and biologists who are being asked to gather more information and support about the environmental value of Sickle Point, including possible letters of support.

Many blue and red listed species have been sighted at Sickle Point, including the yellow breasted chat, Lewis’s woodpecker, western rattlesnake and pallid bat, Olsen said in the email.

She said Penticton MP Dick Cannings rates Sickle Point very high on areas in need of preservation.

The gathering is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. 

Anyone wishing to donate or those wishing more information should contact send an email to chair@kaledencommunity.com.


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