By Steve Hubrecht
Invermere’s ever-busy Kinsmen Beach was especially busy this past summer, thanks in part to COVID-19 restrictions curtailing many other summer activities. The surge in the number of people recreating at the beach or just off its shores prompted a local resident to express concern to Invermere council during its most recent meeting.
Avy Nicholson wrote to council that it needs to do something to clear up the illegal and reckless parking at Kinsmen Beach. “There just isn’t the room, and the constant flow of traffic in our residential area is a great concern. The night groups are a problem as they seem to think it is party time at midnight on, even though the park is ‘supposed’ to be closed,” wrote Nicholson, adding that “it has now become a marina with boats parked up to and tying onto the few dismal buoys outlining the swimming area. Every time there is a wind, the buoys come off the anchors and drift closer to shore, making the swimming area smaller and the moorage larger. I have counted up to 35 boats moored in the bay, all playing different music, and urinating overboard…”
She outlined that the boat traffic discourages swimmers, kayakers and paddle boarders from venturing beyond the buoys.
Nicholson suggested that the district designate all of Taynton Bay, from Fort Point to Ben Abel Creek, as swimming and paddling only area, saying the people that have homes on the bay and own boats would likely be more than willing to slowly take their boats through this restricted area out to the main lake, as from what she has observed the boats causing the issues in the bay do not belong to those living along the bay.
Invermere mayor Al Miller told other council members that he met with Nicholson about what she sees as dangerous overcrowding, adding that in his view, “it is a concern,” that the number of mooring balls is clearly growing on the west side of the bay, and that on the east side boats are coming in, playing loud music and creating a disturbance.
Councillor Greg Taft said there was “no perfect answer” because it is clearly a problem, but that there is also value in allowing people to get on and off their boats to access Invermere.
“We are limited in what we can do as a council,” noted councillor Greg Anderson, pointing out that Invermere does not have jurisdiction over anything that happens on the waters of Taynton Bay, as just like the rest of Lake Windermere, it is a navigable waterway as so falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
Anderson suggested asking the Lake Windermere Ambassadors for their input, noting that the Ambassadors are the group the district typically seeks feedback from on matters relating to the lake. The other council members readily agreed that consulting the Ambassadors was the best course of action.