Okanagan directors flexing their political muscles

Directors at the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen are using their political muscles to support a resolution on invasive mussels.

CLUSTERS OF QUAGGA and zebra mussels have been found on at least eight boats entering the Okanagan and officials are concerned some are being missed.

CLUSTERS OF QUAGGA and zebra mussels have been found on at least eight boats entering the Okanagan and officials are concerned some are being missed.

Directors at the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen are using their political muscles in hopes others will support a resolution that could increase protection of B.C. water bodies from invasive mussels.

At the July 7 RDOS meeting, directors passed a resolution that will be submitted for support to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities requesting that all out-of-province registered watercraft be restricted from entering B.C.

Several directors made mention that the resolution left some slack in the line with regards to protection from zebra and quagga mussels entering B.C. waterways.

Terry Schaefer, director for area C (Oliver rural) noted that mussels can travel other ways including on the bottom of kayaks or even on hip waiters.

“I guess we go ahead with what we can do in this situation,” he said.

Director Sue McKortoff, mayor of Osoyoos, said the resolution seems “a bit frivolous,”considering Osoyoos Lake has a portion that is in the U.S. And there is no way to stop the mussels if they find a way in from the American side.

McKortoff did vote for sending the resolution to UBCM saying, “this is a huge issue and I think anything we can do to make people think about it has impact.”

Director Tom Siddon from Area D (Kaleden/OK Falls) pointed out the resolution really wouldn’t have any bite as there is no registry for pleasure craft in B.C., so other than the trailer it is hauled on there is no way to know where the boat is from.

“I know what we’re trying to do here but I don’t think we should kid ourselves. There are no B.C. registered pleasure crafts,” he said.

Despite directors casting doubts on the resolution it was passed with only Bob Coyne from Area H, (Princeton rural) voting against.

The resolution will be submitted to UBCM for consideration at the conference at the end of September in Victoria.

Close to 7,000 boats have been inspected so far this year in B.C., 240 came from high risk jurisdictions and eight were infested with adult quagga or zebra mussels.