Lake Country resident Bill Jeffrey is a frequent visitor with his kayak to Gable Beach when venturing along the shoreline of Okanagan Lake. Image Credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Lake Country’s beach access debate

Concern over lakefront access land is spreading in the district

During the Carr’s Landing by-election, one of candidate Jeannette Lambert’s campaign platform issues was the sale of publicly owned road-end land to enhance or expand other public access areas.

Since winning the election, Lambert has followed through on that commitment.

Her request of district staff to bring forward a road-end and easement acquisition and disposition policy was on the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting.

Related: Residents looking to save Carr’s Landing beach

That issue is partly behind the concerns of some Carr’s Landing residents concerned about the fate of Gable Beach, and others voicing opposition to public access points to local lakes being sold off to adjacent property owners.

Lambert’s argument is the profits from such land sales can be used to expand or enhance existing public park and other access points to local lakes that can accommodate larger numbers of people and are not disruptive to nearby property owners.

Cara Reed, with The Friends Of Carr’s Landing Public Beaches, said she has spoken to Lambert about that policy.

She is concerned the profits of selling lakefront access land can only be used to acquire public land elsewhere, leaving her to wonder why the district would sell beach access land to begin with rather than enhance it.

“Whether we preserve or sell off access to lakefront beaches should not be determined by the number of parking spaces that exist,” Reed said.

For Lambert, she said improving beach access points to benefit the majority rather than small numbers of neighbouring residents is behind her thinking.

“We are an agriculture-based community, so we have to think intelligently about how to generate revenues to work towards improving all the amenities we want,” she said.