The proliferation of moorage buoys on local lakes as Lake Country council seeking a policy solution that can be enforced. - Image Credit: Contributed

Lake Country studying moorage buoy issue

Recent study reflects divided opinions about moorage buoys on Wood, Kalamalka, Okanagan Lakes

How to improve greater access to the boating lifestyle in Lake Country remains an issue with no clear-cut solutions.

Council was presented a moorage buoys’ study late last month by consultant Juliet Anderton, retained by the district to gauge public response to this issue and illuminate on how the district should proceed forward.

The study is a response to the recent surge in the placement of private moorage buoys on Wood Lake, Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake.

Some of the survey data collected for the study reflected some divided opinions:

• 38 per cent in favour of expanding the number of moorage buoys, 37 per cent opposed with 25 per cent undecided

• 71 per cent agreed or strongly agreed the district should ensure the demand from local residents for moorage buoys is met, 21 percent disagreed

• 59 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that moorage buoy demands from tourists are provided, 21 per cent agreed.

• 56 per cent agreed or strongly agreed the district should ensure there are locations set aside for people who don’t own waterfront property to install or have access to moorage buoys, 29 per cent disagreed

•46 per cent approved of moorage buoys being located beyond swimming areas adjacent to public parks and 37 per cent said yes with limitations on the number in a given area, while 43 per cent were opposed to the idea

• 42 per cent were okay with moorage buoys located in areas a moderate risk to shoe spawning kokanee, 46 per cent were opposed

• 40 per cent were supportive of moorage buoys located adjacent to water intakes, 46 per cent were opposed

The survey responses were generated in April from 32 people who attended an open house on this issue in Oyama and 40 for a similar forum at Okanagan Centre Hall combined with 330 responses to an online survey received between March 20 and May 5.

Coun. Bill Scarrow said the study didn’t really reflect a clear consensus on several moorage buoy options and that most of the people who generally complain about the proliferation of boats on local lakes are not boat owners.

Coun. Penny Gambell noted that not all waterfront owners are necessarily boat owners, either.

“This is an issue that isn’t going to go away, but I think we need to develop a policy to take back to the public and see if it’s considered reasonable or we are way out of line,” Gambell said.

Mark Koch, director of district community services, said the intent behind the study was to craft a solution to the moorage buoy location issues that could be brought back to council for further consideration and public input.