'Monstrosity', a 'visual obstruction', a 'disappointment' -- those were just some of the emotionally charged words used to describe the feelings of residents and users of Rotary Beach with regards to the new marina being built on the private shores of Manteo Resort.
In a Castanet poll posted Monday evening, 62 per cent of respondents were concerned the new marina would affect those using Rotary Beach. Castanet asked for readers to send in their comments about the project, and we received several emails:
Alan McLeod wrote: “I am very disappointed although not entirely surprised that the city would condone a commercial marina to encroach on the best family beach we have. It doesn't get the big tourist traffic so has primarily been used by local people. Up until now it has been protected from the high speed, big boat crowd and the wakes they create.”
Chris Fabbi wrote: “I feel that the marina changes will drastically impact the beauty of the lake and the usability/safety of Rotary Beach by all parties, e.g. swimmers, kiteboarders and windsurfers. To negatively impact the already booming non-polluting activities happening at the beach with the introduction/expansion of gas powered boats is in my opinion extremely short sighted and just plain wrong.”
Cindy wrote: “The visual obstruction of the beautiful, open lake view is a real concern to me. As well, I enjoy watching the windsurfing and kite surfing at Rotary beach. This will no longer be feasible given the safety hazard that the new dock poses. The safety of the swimmers at the beach is also a concern, especially given that there is likely to be many rental boats being driven by inexperienced drivers at this particular marina.”
Clayton Arnall is an avid user of Rotary beach, who also lives nearby. He is concerned about the pier obstructing the view of the lake and also the pollution that a marina can cause.
“Everything comes down wind here, so anything from that marina will end up on this beach.”
Marc Brillinger is also concerned with the possible pollution and the increased boat noise.
“Plus anyone who comes to this beach will have to look at this monstrosity rising out of the lake, that is what it is, a monstrosity.”
A Land Act application was received by the ministry in 2009 for a significant upgrade and expansion of the existing moorage facilities fronting the Manteo Resort on the southeast side of Okanagan Lake.
In 2013 the provincial government approved the Land Act tenure to accommodate 172 boat slips over an area of 180 metres by 150 metres.
However, according to Manteo Resort General Manager Heather Schroeter, there is no plan to build 172 boat slips at this time.
“We are putting 40 slips: 20 will be for our resort guests, 10 of them will be for boat rentals and the other 10 will be for our Smack Dab guests which is something we have been asked for, for years and years by the local community whose out there boating and just wants to stop in for lunch.”
In the fall Manteo will add another 20 boat slips, which will be built out into the lake and not towards Rotary Beach.
The project is on private property and had to be approved by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and not the City of Kelowna, although they were contacted for comments.
Ryan Smith with the City of Kelowna stated, when asked for their input most of the concerns were environmental.
“In this case we looked at the mouth of Fascieux Creek, and the Eldorado dock and the future of that and provided some feedback to the provincial government.”
That is why Schroeter explains a lot of environmental work was conducted as a requirement for the marina to be built further out into the lake, off the shore shelf.
Yet for those who use Rotary Beach for activities such as kite boarding and stand up paddle boarding, the new marina is a safety issue above all else.
According to Arnell, kite boarders and wind surfers can come down the lake from Mission Creek, and if they drop their kite the wind will bring them right into the beach.
“No big deal, no harm done, but now you will float right into that dock, so that is a safety concern, “ he said.
“Swimmers, paddle boarders, kite boarders would come right through that area (where the marina is being built), so it was being used,” explained Brillinger. “So it wasn’t just aesthetic, it was used and now that is all gone.”
While Schroeter stated the resort is excited about the area and entire lake as everyone else who uses it is; “We wouldn’t do something that we thought was negative for the public or for any of the tourists who come here.”
When Castanet inquired about how the public process was handled when the application was first submitted, we were told we must speak with Owner/Operator of Manteo Resort, Adrian Block, who is currently out of the country.
The Provincial government did respond to questions about the application with the following statement:
- The applicant had completed a detailed environmental assessment and wind/wave study for the proposed marina.
- The existing structure is being removed to help protect important environmental values in that part of the lake.
- The new dock is being expanded from previous size as a result of increased demand for moorage slips in this area
- This application was advertised twice in the local Kelowna newspaper.
- Transport Canada (Navigable Waters) recently provided their approval on the proposed marina.
- Comments were received from various agencies, including the City of Kelowna. There were no significant concerns with the proposal.