Lake Windermere file photo

B.C government sinks Pedley marina proposal

60-slip marina was planned for joint use by Pedley and Baltac neighbourhoods

The B.C. government has sunk a proposal for a private marina on Lake Windermere.

In 2018, the Pedley Heights Community Association proposed a 90-berth moorage facility on Lake Windermere at Baltac Bay. In a public hearing in July 2018, Mark Voszler, president of the Pedley Heights Community Association, presented the proposal for a joint moorage facility between Pedley and Baltac communities. Representatives from both neighbourhoods made clear the agreement was struck after years of consultation, internal discussion, and compromise. In the 10 days between the public hearing and Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board meeting, the proposal was reduced from 90 to 60 boat slips. The RDEK Board approved the rezoning needed to move the project forward.

Separate from the RDEK bylaw amendment process, the association also approached the Province for a crown land application to address the changes needed in the crown-owned water.

The application was denied last month by the Province, with the ministry giving four reasons for the decision. The first was unmitigated environmental concerns: the marina was proposed in a key habitat area, there was insufficient evidence provided by a qualified environmental professional, and an environmental mitigation strategy or management plan was not provided by the

proponent. The second was impacts to public use, asserting the public would

gain no social or economic benefit from such a structure. The third was First Nations considerations: that the proposed facility would have adverse impacts on Aboriginal interests. Lastly, that a Land Act authorization would not provide authority to remove private buoys, with no evidence indicating that locating a group moorage facility would result in a reduction in the number of private buoys.

Mr. Voszler, who spoke at the public hearing on behalf of the Pedley Heights Community Association and was the president at the time, did not return repeated phone calls from the Pioneer to speak to the application. Gerald Catonio, president of the Baltac Community Association, also did not return phone calls from the Pioneer. Lake Windermere Ambassadors declined to comment for the article either.

Susan Clovechok, Area F director, said she has not heard from any residents about the provincial decision, and furthermore that no discussion on further applications or alternatives have come forward to the RDEK regarding a marina on Lake Windermere.

Ms. Clovechok was not the Area F director when the public hearing or RDEK vote took place, but did attend the public hearing to stay informed on issues in the area.

“We heard at the public hearing in the fall that the issues on the lake are very polarizing. It was clear – regardless of their position – people are very passionate about the lake,” Ms. Clovechok said. “The lake can be very busy, and that’s where issues arise.”

To read the full decision, go to https://arfd.gov.bc.ca and search for file number 4405612.

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