The October 7th decision of the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) against supporting a Lake Windermere Management Plan open house in Calgary was disappointing to the Lake Windermere Watersports Association. Although the information from the open houses is now more complete and up-to-date online, the lack of engagement with lakefront property owners and avid boaters from Calgary has been identified as a problem since the original workshops in 2009.
Representatives from the RDEK, working in conjunction with the Lake Windermere Management Plan, have always maintained that the notice given and the meeting schedules were adequate and satisfactory and that seasonal homeowners could send in comments by e-mail. However, all the information presented at the open houses hasnt always been available online.
We see a huge value in actual attendance at these meetings both by way of information and to add clarity to issues that may be misunderstood. There simply is no substitute for an open two-way dialogue.
It is very difficult to engage this group as there really is not a perfect time to hold the meetings, and even if there were an ideal time, it is simply human nature to not spend valuable family/vacation time attending meetings regardless of their importance. Many communities on the east side of the lake hold their annual general meetings in Calgary and they are very well attended.
We are not really surprised at the outcome of the RDEK vote against supporting the open house and thank Gerry, Dee and Wendy for their support. It is great to see that at least our local representatives understand the importance of including the Calgary property owners. We would have liked to have seen support from Gerry Wilkie, the Area G director who also sits on the Lake Windermere Management Plan board.
It should be noted that the Windermere Fire District, which includes the East side communities, is relatively tiny geographically in comparison to the entire RDEK, yet it contributes approximately 12 per cent of the total RDEK planning budget. As there is a lot of money in the Lake Windermere Management Committee budget at this time, the Watersports Association will be encouraging the committee to consider bearing the cost of a Calgary meeting.
Calgarian property owners are not fully engaged and a meeting in Calgary is the very best way to remedy this problem. It is our hope that this can happen in the very near future.