Column: Process must stay afloat

There’s been some media speculation that achieving consensus on lower Shuswap River boat restrictions has sunk.

And on the surface, that would appear to be the case as those wanting some motorized boat restrictions and those resistant to rules continue to be miles apart after a five-month mediation process.

Specifically, the motorized user groups want a 50 kilometre an hour speed limit for the lower Shuswap River, but 60 kilometres an hour for water skiing, while those advocating for regulations want speed limits on various sections, including 40 kilometres an hour from Mara to Tuey Park.

The boaters propose a no towing zone from Mara to 10 kilometres up the river from noon to 6 p.m. Friday to Monday, but those pursuing rules want no towing from Mabel to Mara lakes.

Speed and where certain activities can occur remain significant issues, and realistically the entire process initiated by the Regional District of North Okanagan could collapse.

However, there is also hope for optimism.

Consider that while the concept of motorized boat restrictions has divided friends, neighbours and communities for decades, all interested groups selected representatives and then they actually sat at the same table for five months trying to identify common ground.

Of course the big issues still remain unsolved, but there was some success as an agreement was reached on increasing public awareness about regulations, a single contact for complaints and a strategy to accommodate the growing number of tubers. This is huge given the animosity that has previously bubbled to the surface.

Beyond this, the various parties don’t appear ready to walk away just yet.

“We welcome the opportunity to continue the dialogue,” Jay Reid, boater spokesperson, told the RDNO board recently.

Laura Jameson, who wants some form of restrictions, is calling for the mediation process to continue and not be hampered by a firm deadline.

“We strongly believe it needs to be the right regulations,” she said.

What became clear during the recent presentation to RDNO is that the so-called two sides actually have more in common than they do differences.

Those wanting restrictions aren’t anti-boat and simply want to ensure that concerns about the environment and safety are addressed while those with boats have a vested interest in safety as well as protecting the river for the future. It’s simply how they achieve those goals that differs.

The next step is up to the regional district.

“We’ve heard the respective proposals and the board will have a discussion with First Nations and internally on how to proceed,” said David Sewell, chief executive officer.

In the end, it would be easy for RDNO to focus on the lack of an overall agreement between the parties and walk away, but that would resolve nothing. What is needed is for everyone to roll up their sleeves, get back to work and find something that works for the community.

Just Posted

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

Search at Silver Creek property enters third day

A portion of the property has been cordoned off with black landscaping fabric

Man in custody linked to Silver Creek property search

Police are not saying how this search is related to Curtis Wayne Sagmoen’s current criminal charges

Day 2 of RCMP search at Silver Creek residence

Police use backhoe in ongoing search effort at residential/agricultural Salmon River Road property

Residents pay tribute to city’s homeless

He was articulate and well-spoken. He was great at self-reflection. He liked watching the Canucks. And more often than not, he lived at the Howard House Men’s Shelter.

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Celebrating Canada in song

Several Shuswap groups join voices in mass choir for Canada 150

Symphony trumpets in new season

Kamloops Symphony makes first appearance of the 2017-18 season in Salmon Arm

Most Read