The Green Bay Property Owners’ Association was one of eight community groups to speak to West Kelowna council Tuesday.
But unlike the other associations that had several issues in mind, the Green Bay speakers used their entire 15 minutes to speak about one project.
Association president Gary Gylytiuk, along with director Jim Tait, asked the district for support in the group’s effort to create a local service area for the purpose of funding a dredging project in Green Bay.
Tait, the author of the dredging plan, said the infilling of Green Bay with waterborne sediments from the surrounding uplands is not a natural-occurring development.
“It has happened due to many years of neglect in conjunction with an apparent lack of direction and leadership by the authorities who have the mandate to design and implement an effective storm water management program,” said Tait.
“Nothing has been done to stop the continuing sedimentation and pollution of Green Bay. The soil erosion actually worsened when surface drainage improvements were constructed across the Quails’ Gate vineyard lands in 2012.”
The association has received approval for the dredging of Green Bay from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Transport Canada.
The project is estimated to cost $360,000. The association has indicated its willingness to pay one-third of the cost, but it’s looking for the district to lobby the provincial and federal governments to cover the remaining $240,000.
“The navigational channel into Green Bay used by boaters during wind or storm events, as well as the new public beach improvement project, require a clear channel year-round,” said Gylytiuk.
“The existing environmental situation creates a danger to life and property.”
Tait added both local and provincial governments should accept responsibility for removing accumulated pollutants that have flowed across upland developments and into the stream.
Coun. Rick de Jong agreed the sediment problem needs to be addressed, but asked if water quality testing had been done to show there are actually fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants in the lake.
Tait admitted the pollution claim was an assumption he has made.
“I would certainly encourage you, if you start making claims about pollutants in the lake, have your data first. Don’t make the claim and then come back and get data to prove your claim, that’s putting the cart before the horse,” said de Jong.
Coun. Bryden Winsby agreed with de Jong, but suggested the district look into assisting the association with the water quality analysis.
“If we’re going to make a case for health and safety being at risk, certainly it has to involve more than boat navigation,” said Winsby.
“If we have the Ministry of Environment needing convincing, perhaps that’s one way to do it.”
District staff took notes of the group’s requests and the issue will likely come back to council in the coming months.
Several councillors also agreed to tour the area to get a first-hand look at what needs to be done.
Gylytiuk said the next step is to complete a formal survey of the affected property owners. He noted initial conversations with owners in the area has indicated “virtually unanimous support” for the project.