Elected officials deny they are leaving Shuswap River boaters high and dry.
The Regional District of North Okanagan has received a letter from the Riverfront Owners for Responsible Recreation, which blasts a meeting that was held in Enderby Monday.
However, Greg McCune, RDNO director and Enderby mayor, says the meeting was organized by the city and not the regional district and had nothing to do with possible boat restrictions on the river.
“It’s a separate issue completely,” he said.
Among the issues discussed by the city and community groups were garbage, River Ambassadors funding and parking.
“It had everything to do with how our community functions with a large influx of people,” said McCune, adding that the meeting was publicized in advance.
“People showed up.”
In its letter, the Riverfront Owners for Responsible Recreation insists it should have been part of the discussion on how to improve the river experience for tubers and kayakers.
“In correspondence with the RDNO over the last 18 months, we had been assured that we will be included in further consultation about the river,” said Mike Steiner, with RORR.
Steiner says he had heard McCune may hold a meeting about the river but he could not find any reference to it in the media or on the City of Enderby website.
“You can imagine my surprise when I saw the article about the meeting that did actually take place,” he said.
“Mayor McCune is a sitting RDNO board member and is fully aware of our group and our concerns of being excluded. Director McCune is also fully aware of all the controversy over the development of the Shuswap River watershed sustainability plan. I do not understand why the local governments refuse to include us as part of the solution.”
Steiner goes on to say that RORR members are active on the river with all activities.
“We have continually asked to be heard and be part of the conversations and solution but we are continually denied,” he said.
David Sewell, RDNO chief administrative officer, says he wasn’t aware of Monday’s meeting until after it was held.
“It’s Enderby’s issue as to who they want to invite,” he said.
RDNO is hiring a consultant to see if middle ground can be found on possible motor boat restrictions on the river in the Enderby area.
“We’re trying to be very inclusive in the consultation,” said Sewell.