Members of Shuswap Beachwalkers are determined to make the public aware that the beach below the high-water line is Crown land and therefore should be accessible to everyone, not just waterfront property owners.

Walkers raise awareness of public beach access

The beach below Shuswap Lake’s highwater mark is Crown land and open to everyone.

Summer and Shuswap Lake are a perfect match.

And to many, a stroll along a beach is perfect too. Trouble is, for those who don’t own waterfront property, finding a place to swim let alone stroll can be a challenge.

It is an issue Shuswap Beachwalkers has taken up, reminding everyone the beach below the lake’s high-water mark is Crown land and therefore open to everyone.

This is confirmed in a Feb. 22 email from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO):

“Specifically, private moorage tenure holders are required to ensure that public access to the Crown foreshore is maintained (the high water mark of the lake is considered Crown foreshore),” reads the email. “Fences that do not maintain public access to Crown foreshore are unauthorized as per Section 60 of the Land Act, and subject to trespass action and removal under Section 59 of the Land Act.”

FLNRO further points out that while there may be some instances where commercial tenures are granted rights of exclusion, most if not all, private-moorage tenures require licence or permit-holders to maintain public access across Crown-owned foreshore.

But try telling that to some waterfont homeowners. Dan McKerracher, Shuswap Beachwalkers member and a waterfront property owner, says he welcomes people to walk by his place, near Sorrento’s Markwart Road boat launch.

However, a number of obstructive docks and angry comments from some waterfront property owners deter many people from enjoying the lake and local beaches.

“Over the entire eight kilometres of walkable Sorrento-area beach, there are only eight docks that obstruct walkers to one degree or other—four or five, seriously or completely, depending on exactly where the water line is at the time for example, and the rest are merely annoying/marginally dangerous,” says McKerracher, who led a beach walk in the area on Saturday, Feb. 18 to bring attention to the matter. “We’re just starting this walk idea to get the public more involved; everybody is busy, but when you talk to people in stores and social situations, they all have stories about the attitude (of some lakefront property owners).”

McKerracher has spoken to representatives from several levels of government, and says they have been “cautionary” in their approach and seemingly have little appetite to pursue the issue.

Electoral Area C South Shuswap director Paul Demenok agrees that not only is the issue a controversial topic with multiple sides, it is primarily a FLNRO responsibility. In terms of what the regional district can do, he says there are a number of docks that have been grandfathered in.

While he wants to bring attention to the issue, McKerracher says he is not trying to anger waterfront property owners, but rather make them aware that others have the right to stroll along the beach.

It is a message Beachwalkers plans to reiterate through regular walks along the beach on the third Saturday of every month.

Just Posted

The Kelowna Rockets Down Under fan connection

Three bus loads of workers from around the globe gave the Rockets an edge Wednesday

Updated: Accused in Kelowna triple murder in court today

Jacob Forman has been in custody since he was arrested and charged with second degree murder

Lake Country supports West Kelowna request for share of cannabis tax

Mayor James Baker supports the letter in principle, but doubts it will get far

UBCO professor awarded research chair for work with egg industry

Nathan Pelletier’s looking to improve efficiencies and reduce environmental impact of egg industry

Stewart says experience counts in Kelowna West

With a provincial byelection now set for Feb. 14, we hear from the candidates involved

Kelowna’s Ursel to coach host team at Olympics

Bob Ursel is headed to the Olympics with South Korea’s national men’s curling team

Former fire chief gets seven months in prison for possession of child porn

The 63-year-old pleaded guilty during a brief hearing last year to one count

B.C. VIEWS: Public school ‘crisis’ doesn’t exist

More teachers pour in, union wants results suppressed

OK Falls pot shop vandalized a week after opening

Windows were smashed Wednesday evening and spray paint called the owner a “goof” and a “pedo”

Waters: Kelowna West finally gets to pick a replacement for Christy Clark

After stalling on the call for a bylection, Premier John Horgan sending voters to the polls Feb. 14

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Carpet bowlers have been excluded from BC 55+ Games and Canada 55+ Games

Gold medal carpet bowling winners not able to defend their titles in 2018

UPDATE: Police release new footage, launch website in hunt for 13-year-old’s killer

IHIT say no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Marrisa Shen’s death

Rural B.C. students score visit with Canadiens netminder Carey Price

Two students from the Chilcotin can hardly wait to meet hometown hero Carey Price in Montreal.

Most Read