A Keremeos driven resolution to ban camping on active riverbeds received full support from directors around the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen table.
The resolution will now be read at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities this fall in Victoria in an attempt to gain even more support and hopefully more clout with the provincial government.
“We’ve been working on this for many years and I’ve met multiple times with various ministries and of course the responsibility has shifted over the years,” Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer said.
The resolution asks for an amendment to the Forest and Range Practices Act that would prohibit camping on active riverbeds throughout B.C. Currently the act reads that camping is allowed for a 14-day period.
“Last year the water was so low in the Similkameen… there was no more fishing, you couldn’t even float down the river and there they were still camped out there. We’re basically taking truckloads of garbage out of there every year after the season,” Bauer said.
Over the years the village of Keremeos and concerned residents have tried a variety of solutions including putting garbage bins out for campers, outhouses and even setting up a campground. This year conservation officers have attended the riverbed to educate campers and have also handed out hefty fines to some.
“There’s been two major tickets of a $1,000 each. It’s the sheer nature of the transient campers that even if they have the staff to go down there they are moving on and leaving destruction behind,” he said.
The resolution will be read out at UBCM and Bauer plans to meet with the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations.