Wednesday, April 23rd12.2°C

Lifting Kelowna's Spirit

UPDATE 4:15 P.M. - District Bylaw Enforcement has spoken with the sunken Paddlewheeler owners’ representative who advised that the vessel has now been re-floated and appears to be sound. It will remain moored in front of Kalamoir park tonight and he expects that it will be removed from the lake tomorrow.

The Spirit of Kelowna could be re-floated as early as today.

The paddlewheeler, which according to West Kelowna Mayor, Doug Findlater, has been moored off the shores of Kalamoir Park since the spring, was found sunk early Sunday morning.

According to West Kelowna communications supervisor, Kirsten Jones, a relative of the boat's owner has been contacted.

The relative, who does live in the Okanagan, told the municipality a local marine services company has been hired.

"An oil rig (boom) is being placed around the sunken vessel to secure any leaking fuel and a dive team is expected to inspect the vessel today (Monday), Jones says in a media release.

"It is anticipated the vessel will be re-floated today barring any unforeseen issues."

The District of West Kelowna is working with both the Regional District of Central Okanagan and the provincial Ministry of Environment.

Findlater says an assessment by RCMP and West Kelowna Fire following discovery of the sunken vessel determined only 'a few drops' of oil and gas leaked into the lake.

The district has informed the owner of the paddlewheeler that non-recreational moorage or moorage of more than 48 hours is not permitted within West Kelowna's Water Zone.

The municipality has been battling owners of houseboats and other vessels that have chosen to use municipal waters for long-term moorage.

"Our zoning bylaw has been upheld (in the courts) where we can regulate this," says Findlater.

"It's not trumped by federal law, however, the judge did make one qualification that they have the right to passage and the right to moorage perhaps for 48 hours in municipal waters - but certainly no right to park there indefinitely which is what we've seen with these guys first in Gellatly and they at Kalamoir Park."

Findlater expects the municipality to begin enforcing the court order to have houseboats and other vessels leave municipal waters in the coming months.




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