Walk the Beach event scheduled for Sunday

Docks equipped with pedestrian stairs are popping up around the lake

Docks destroyed when Okanagan Lake rose to unprecedented levels this spring are starting to be rebuilt and there are some changes already taking root.

Al Janusas, one of the people involved in organizing the Walk the Beach event being held this Sunday in Kelowna, said he’s already seen two dock rebuilds fit with pedestrian-friendly stairs—a shift in construction he’s pleased to observe.

“We said to one woman who was rebuilding her dock with stairs, ‘this is refreshing to see,”’ he said.

“She shrugged and said, ‘well, it’s required.’”

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Janusas said he hopes more people become aware of those requirements around docks because walking the lakeshore is something every Kelowna resident should be able to do.

Janusas and walk organizer Brenda Bachmann have been outspoken on the issue of illegal docks and unimpeded access to the foreshore of Okanagan Lake in Kelowna in the wake of the destruction from the floods.

“It’s just a horrible thing that people with lakefront property have had to deal with and I am 100 per cent behind them trying to rebuild their docks,” said Bachmann to the Capital News earlier in the summer.

“All I am saying is why not rebuild it so that it’s legal, and save you the time of having to reconstruct it again? I am not trying to create a new law here. I didn’t make the laws that are in place. I am not asking for any laws to be changed.”

Janusas said he thinks it’s due to a lack of policing.

“You’d never know they’re required because the province has done so little to enforce the rules,” said Janusas.

“When you put docks on the lake, you can’t impede the walkway.”

The provincial government, he said, doesn’t have the required number of staff to keep people compliant with the rules, and that’s why there’s been a proliferation of illegal docks in the last two decades.

Dock contractors in Kelowna are currently fully booked and there’s a lot of construction underway. Having this walk before everything is complete may help ensure there are more people compliant with provincial laws, he said.

The Sunday walk from City Park to Rotary Beach is organized by PLANKelowna and Walk the Beach Kelowna, gets underway at 1 p.m.

It’s expected to attract 100 people.