By Steve Hubrecht
[email protected]

Discussion about the Lake Windermere Resort lands and the recent public open house on the future of the area sprang up during the recent Invermere council meeting.

Invermere resident John Rouse sparked the conversation at the Tuesday, Nov. 10 meeting, by asking if there was any plan to connect the Lake Windermere Resort (LWR) lands with adjacent James Chabot Provincial Park, noting that the district has been talking with the provincial government about taking over James Chabot, and wondering if it would make sense for council to hold off on its plans for the LWR lands until it can secure James Chabot, which would theoretically then give the district an opportunity to develop a cohesive plan for the entire area.

“We don’t officially have James Chabot yet, but we are certainly keeping it in the back of our minds as we go through this. We are considering it as we develop plans for the LWR lands,” responded mayor Al Miller.

Invermere corporate officer Kindry Luyendyk explained that the district has talked with the provincial government a fair bit about transferring James Chabot park to Invermere. “We haven’t seen a formal memorandum of understanding yet, there are still a few more steps,” said Luyendyk. “But at this stage, it does look likely that it will go through.”

The district has been working on acquiring James Chabot for eight to 10 years, outlined councillor Greg Anderson, adding “it is imminent now.”

“When we asked the province about taking it over, they were on side with us…it is happening. It’s just a question of exactly when,” said Miller.

Later in the meeting, Invermere councillor Ute Juras asked why the Lake Windermere Ambassadors were not specifically consulted on the refined concept plan for the LWR lands, adding “they (the Ambassadors) are concerned about getting their comments (on the plan) in on time (before the Nov. 17 deadline).

Invermere planner Rory Hromadnik quickly clarified that the deadline is not stringent, and the Nov. 17 date was selected so that feedback could be incorporated into a further refined plan this winter.

“If there’s any indication that this is too short a time period, please just let us know. No problem, we can accommodate,” said Hromadnik.

Councillors Greg Anderson and Gerry Taft both opined that certainly the Ambassadors should be consulted on any parts of the plan to do with the foreshore. However, the majority of the plan deals with land set back away from the shore, and that Ambassadors didn’t need special consultation on that part, but were definitely welcome to contribute, as would be any other group or member of the public.

Hromadnik added that thus far, feedback on the refined plan has been “much more positive” than feedback in the spring and summer, when a range of options was presented. “This (the refined plan) is a more cautious approach. There’s more green space, more ecosystem restoration. People seem to prefer that,” he said.

“The biggest thing to me is that we had face to face, or at least mask to mask, consultation,” added Miller.