As an avid boater and Okanagan Centre councillor, Blair Ireland was excited to hear the news that Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour may be getting a floating dock.
Lake Country councillors and residents have long had issues with the Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour, calling it unsafe due to parking concerns, the height of the boat launch and what they argue is the harbour’s inability to protect boaters from storms.
Ireland was pleased the regional district is doing something to address the problem.
“I hope that they design it with boaters in mind, (unlike) what they’ve done in the past,” he said.
Ireland said it’s been an ongoing issue, prior to his term as councillor, “not just in the Okanagan Centre community, but the boating community.”
“That lake is a dangerous place, storms come up super fast, and I’ve been out there on the lake all my life… it can be scary and you need those places to hide,” he said.
Mayor James Baker was also happy to hear the news that the floating dock is part of the regional district’s budget.
“We’ve been lobbying with the regional district for some time,” he said.
As part of the Central Okanagan Regional District’s budget, $50,000 has been outlined for the installation of a floating dock, said communications officer Bruce Smith, with the regional district. Crews will be working to repair damage to the dock that occurred after the massive floods of 2017.
The regional district crews will be making repairs along the Okanagan Lake foreshore and to the parking area starting March 11. It is anticipated additional repairs will be done in June to stabilize the concrete boat launch pads, according to the regional district.
Smith said he isn’t sure about the time frame on the floating dock, as the budget won’t be approved by the regional district board until March 25.
The floating dock will also need approval from the province, considering the area is in an environmentally sensitive spot due to kokanee spawning grounds according to Smith.
Smith said the regional district has been aware of the issue since the installation of the dock and did receive approval from the ministry to lower it by a few feet, but it’s still high at certain points of the year with low water levels.
The safe harbour lies under the Regional District of Central Okanagan’s jurisdiction and was taken over from the federal government in 1996.