Wood Lake marina proposal

Local environmental groups are surprised by a proposal for a marina in the Central Okanagan.

The proposal, which was first announced in a newspaper ad in November, calls for a 200 slip marina to be built in Wood Lake.

Rick Simpson, chairman of Oceola Fisheries committee and co-chair of the BC Wildlife Federation region 8 fisheries committee, says there was no prior consultation with any of the community groups.

“I truly don't see how they could put a marina in there and get all of the environmental stuff lined up to say that it's okay without looking at it in terms of its operational impact on the lake. It's going to take 300 metres of prime Kokanee shore-spawning and incubating habitat out of production,” says Simpson.

Lake Country Mayor, Jim Baker, says no application for a marina development has been presented to council.

“We still haven't seen the application, we haven't seen any referral from Integrated Land Management, we just don't have the information we need to say what sort of impact a 200 slip marina would have on our community,” says Baker.

He says the Regional District recently did a study on Okanagan and Kal lakes, looking for ways to increase moorage, but Wood Lake wasn’t considered because it is too shallow.

“There has been talk in the past about eliminating motorized boats on Wood Lake entirely We've never been able to achieve that because it is a tourist attraction, but as a small lake it can be impacted quite considerably by any sort of intensive motorized activity.”

Baker says the location of the proposed marina is beside a stretch of Highway 97 which will soon be moved to the west. After that happens, they are hoping to turn that section of road into municipal use.

Ron Taylor is a 50 year member of the Oceola Fish and Game Club and he says he was amazed that anyone would consider making such a proposal on such a small lake.

“I wouldn't expect the Ministry of Environment would be very happy about that sort of thing since they have worked with the local fish and game club for 30 plus years to build up the fisheries in this lake,” says Taylor.

However, he says there may be a possible compromise option available.

“There is the North East corner of the lake that has been used for years and is perhaps a better place. The habitat for spawning is nearly as good there as it is here.”

He says 200 boats is a lot of boats to be on the water at one time.

“They may not necessarily be on the water at the same time, but they may be come peak season. I understand that moorage is a difficult situation in the Okanagan, but my suggestion would be, when you buy your boat, buy a trailer. Take it home with you when you're finished with it, don't expect that you're going to park it on public property, which is what this is.”

The developer who placed the proposal ad could not be reached for comment.
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