Some of the thousands of sandbags stored at Enterprise Way and Dilworth Drive in Kelowna.—Image credit: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Dock re-builders told to check with province first

EOC says docks and structures that blocked lakeshore public access won’t be allowed to be rebuilt.

While property owners may be eager to begin the process of cleaning up following the recent flooding, including replacing and repairing docks and floating infrastructure, local authorities say dock reconstruction and repair below the high water mark must follow the appropriate provincial permitting process.

Residents must not remove docks or floating infrastructure that have blown onto the foreshore until local authorities provide direction. Debris along the foreshore should remain in place to mitigate erosion due to wave action, says the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre.

If large floating debris becomes a hazard affecting flood protection measures such as gabion baskets, bladder dam systems and sandbag walls along the foreshore, notify the EOC at 250-469-8490 immediately.

Property owners will need approval from the province for build on Crown land (beginning at the established high water mark of 343 metres above sea level and extending to the lake) and they will be required to follow municipal bylaws.

The province’s licence of occupation contains requirements for the permitted length, shape, siting, setbacks and materials of docks. The provincial licence also states that docks, fences and walls must not block pedestrian access between the high water mark and the low water mark. For more information, check the Province of B.C. webpage about private moorage.

Local municipalities rely on the provincial licence requirements for docks built on Crown land, along with some additional detail to ensure designs that cross public foreshore maintain public access. Property owners and building contractors will also need to ensure they adhere to the local municipality’s regulations and bylaws.

On Monday, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said he had already contacted the Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Ministry about the issue of docks being rebuilt on the city lakeshore.

The province has indicated docks with non-conforming or unauthorized structures will not be allowed to rebuild those structures, said the EOC Tuesday. The province has the power to enforce alterations to structures that do not comply with its licence of occupation for Crown land.

All dock, wall, fence repairs or reconstruction below the high-water mark must go through Front Counter BC at 1-877-855-3222. Any illegal or unauthorized activities must be reported to the provincial Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Compliance & Enforcement site at https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hen/nrv/.

For more information, visit www.cordemergency.ca, sign up for e-updates or call the information line at 250-469-8490.

For municipal information such as boat launch, park and beach closures, and water quality advisories, visit municipal websites.

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