The Waterfront Revitalization Select Committee recently hosted public displays of the much-needed replacement infrastructure along Okanagan Lake between the Peach and the SS Sicamous. Depicted in the display were two options, each with different configurations of parking, walkways, trees, etc. These improvements are welcome as they will benefit pedestrians, cyclists and foot-borne beach-goers.
Unfortunately, both options clearly show beach moorage for motorboats around the SS Sicamous and the construction of motorboat docks on the east side of the nearby rock pier. Encouraging motorized vessels in this area is a bad idea. It reduces the amount of beachfront available to the public as evidenced by the recent expansion of the day moorage area to a portion of Okanagan Beach immediately east of the Sicamous. Allowing motorboats passage to and from the beach and proposed dock will intrude on an area once frequented by swimmers.
The West Okanagan Lake Waterfront Public Consultation and Survey results on the city’s website shows public feedback received last spring. In it, a total of 67.6 per cent of respondents rated a boat beaching area as either “of little importance” or “of no importance”. A total of 62.1 per cent rated a boat dock area as either “of little importance” or “of no importance”. This is indicated in question 24 of the document, available at: http://tinyurl.com/okanagan-waterfront. None of the city staff I have spoken to were aware of this fact. Where, then, does the impetus come from for motorboat moorage when most people think it is unimportant?