Sicamous councillor unable to persuade peers on variance

A Sicamous councillor’s plan to store a houseboat in his backyard was sunk by his peers.

A Sicamous councillor’s plan to store a houseboat in his backyard was sunk by his peers.

Coun. Malcolm Makayev’s application to vary the maximum allowable length of a boat or vessel that can be stored on his Kappel Street property was voted down at council’s Nov. 23 meeting.

In a letter to the district, Makayev explains he wanted to store his 50-foot-long houseboat at the back of his residential property during the winter. The bylaw allows a maximum of 32 feeet.

“The current bylaw is 23-years-old, and in my opinion does not reflect current trends relating to boats getting bigger as time goes on,” writes Makayev. “As the Houseboat Capital of Canada, and as the official gateway to the Shuswap, and with the District of Sicamous’ current OCP’s nautical theme, one would think you could store your own houseboat in your backyard.”

Coun. Jeff Mallmes preferred the existing bylaw be upheld and a precedent avoided. Coun. Colleen Anderson agreed, warning what might happen if that precedent were set.

“The guy has parked his houseboat in his yard and now he’s gutting it and redoing it,” said Anderson. “So now you’ve got this houseboat work yard because he’s allowed to park there… he’s repairing it too and we all know what those look like when they’re torn apart.

“We’ve got to be visual with this as well… see what’s going to happen down the road,” said Anderson.

Coun. Gord Bushell agreed with Makayev that the district’s bylaw is outdated and doesn’t take into account the lengths of some of today’s vessels.

“We are a boating community, there’s a lot of big boats in this town that are totally illegal in everybody’s yard… so, I don’t have a problem with it, especially where he is, backing right on to a boatyard,” said Bushell.

Staff said neighbours were notified of Makayev’s application, and no objections or letters of support were received.

Later in the meeting, during his report, Makayev joked about having a houseboat for sale.