LETTERS: My wish for the SS Sicamous area

I am concerned some of the natural riches of this proposed marine park could be lost or compromised.

I am concerned some of the natural riches of this proposed marine park, especially the area around the groyne, could be lost or compromised.

My appreciation and awareness of its wildlife attributes have grown over time. One day it could be a mother merganser with a string of babies in tow hugging the shoreline. Another time it might be grebes diving alongside the groyne or a flock of American Coots huddling together offshore on the lookout for a nearby eagle or mallard ducks and widgeons on their bellies nibbling grass near the Sicamous and Rose Garden.  In the bay east of the vessels and sometimes off the end of the groyne, the swans in winter are a delight to see and make me chuckle when all at once they tip bottoms-up to feed. Also, a myriad of songbirds and other birds frequent the area.

The  groyne and surrounding waters feature an ever changing display of wildlife riches. Although man-made, the groyne is similar to an artificial ocean reef in that over time it creates its own habitat. Not only does this area support a wide variety of waterfowl, many of whom come ashore, but also other wildlife such as muskrats who have several underwater entrances presumably to access their den(s).

The end of the groyne is rather unique in that it provides the opportunity to be either near or at lake level. This almost 360-degree lake level view is unusual and magical. Furthermore, the ring of rocks at the tip allows birds (especially young ones) some protection from rough waters and a place to rest and play. The groyne’s gravel-like surface is better to walk on in winter, less ice prone than a wooden or concrete surface. This general area is a haven for photographers, bird watchers, fishermen and a myriad of folk, reading,  strolling about chatting and/or gazing at the vistas and admiring the vessels.

I believe the SS Sicamous and the two other vessels deserve surroundings which compliment  a serene, stately ambience respectful of a bygone era. Likewise, the waterfowl and other wildlife using the area require easy and uninterrupted passage in the waters surrounding the groyne. Intrusive structures such as motor boat moorage facilities and a log boom plus the motor boats themselves could well impede and limit waterfowl and wildlife use in this area. Also, there is the potential for motor boat oil spillage in the water. In addition, more active, noisier uses including power boats would detract from the vessels majestic grandeur.

My wish for the SS Sicamous area plan is to showcase the vessels and the surrounding natural attributes. This could be accomplished with some respectful, mainly cosmetic changes to the landscape. So many cities, including some in the Okanagan, have lost unique wildlife habitat in urban areas only to decide many years later to recreate what was lost — unfortunately, this is not often always possible or cost effective.

Susan Austen




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