Vernon council backs out-of-province boat ban suggestion despite dissenting opinions

Council backs boat ban

Vernon city council is supporting the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s calls to action for the province to put a moratorium on out-of-province boats, among other things, despite two councillors disagreeing.

Councillors Brian Quiring and Kari Gares disagreed with the moratorium aspect of the recommendations and did not vote to support the calls to action.

Quiring said it’s “dreadful how poor'' boat inspection sites are and questioned how to enforce the ban.

“You kind of got to think about the logistics of this and say, ‘Boy, that's gonna be a heck of a thing to roll out’, and I know that all these guys that are smarter than me in Alberta, they're just gonna go and get to B.C. plates to get on their boat,” said Quiring.

He also said the ban would cause a huge loss of tourism revenue for Vernon and suggested “take that money and put it to inspecting at boat launches.”

Quiring said he feels a ban on boats is over the top and he doesn't think anyone had thought of the practicality of such a ban.

Gares agreed, adding emphasis on Vernon’s tourism economy and the current lack of boat inspection sites.

“We don't have the enforcement right now to even check the boats that are legally able to come in, so who's going to be checking these boats?” asked Gares.

Both said they were happy to support the water board's other suggestions, but wouldn’t be able to support the moratorium on out-of-province boats.

The idea is to prevent invasive mussels from coming to B.C.’s waterways after quagga mussels were found in Snake River, a tributary to the Columbia River. The moratorium would be in place until the extent of the mussel invasion in Twin Falls, Idaho, is known – something which Gares pointed out could last months or years.

Council passed a motion to support the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s calls to action, which would see out-of-province boats banned if the provincial government agrees to enforce the calls.

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