Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Readers write -- Life near the boat launch

To all:

I just thought I would put down some of my thoughts with respect to the problems created by the boat launch users. First, I think the whole community owes an apology to Mr. Bob Prior for the way he has been treated. It is disgusting that in this day and age we deny someone their right to quiet enjoyment. What we have to tolerate is nothing compared to what Bob has to endure.

Democracy is of course rule by the majority. BUT, one of the cornerstones of Democracy is the protection of the rights of the minority and the individual. You simply cannot remove the rights of others simply for your own convenience. And yet here we are with the majority trampling on the rights of the minority who live on Kalavista in general and on the lake particularly. We have a right to quite enjoyment where we live. We have a right to breath clean air and we have a right to reasonable levels of noise. We have a right to come and go freely and we should have a right to utilize the lake in front of our residences without fear and without having to bathe afterwards to remove oil and other nuisances. But no, we are denied these rights because the elected governments find it more convenient to ignore the concepts of democracy.

No one is advocating the closure of the Kalavista boat launch. It had been for years a convenience to the community. What is being asked for is the restoration of rights of the people that live in the area. It would also be nice if the regulations that are available would be enforced. In my case, because there are several hundred boats crossing within about 30 meters of our shore we experience a huge loss of enjoyment every weekend. The pub wharf is not a public wharf and the owners of the pub have posted it as a private wharf to try and help reduce the problems, but everyone ignores the posting and uses the pub wharf to pickup and deploy passengers. Thus virtually every boat that is launched at the boat launch makes a minimum of 4 trips across in front of the residences between the boat launch and the pub creating noise, a dangerous situation for swimmers, a real oil slick and a horrible water condition due to the suspended solids that are churned up. Why not help the pub keep their wharf for their customers?

The music if it can be called that is disgusting albeit, I am old and do not appreciate swearing as entertainment. The sight of men urinating off their boats because they are too drunk to get to the bathrooms is also disgusting.

My son had our boat trailer impounded when he was driving along Westkal road because he did not realize the license had been stolen. Yet at the same time, numerous unregistered boats are launched daily and my guess is they are piloted by unlicensed drivers. Hundreds if not thousands of cans of beer are consumed each weekend and a lot of the empties end up on the bottom or on shore. Not to say that drinking in boats should be tolerated.

It is not the boat launch that is the problem. It is the fact that the boat launch has been expanded to a point that the infrastructure cannot handle the traffic and the fact that the majority of boaters using the launch just don't give a damn about rules, regulation or neighbors. In my opinion, you will only make the problem worse by trying to retrofit more solutions to handle more traffic. Some how, we have got to get a handle on this problem. There is a need for a local launch like it was a few short years ago which accommodated the needs of the local residents and a few tourists.

Finally, we must pay attention NOW to the water quality of Kal lake or we will face huge repercussions down the road. Green algae blooms are now quite common. There is a real oil slick on the lake which leads to poor oxygen exchange. The suspended solids being churned up by the boats in shallow waters leads to reduced sun light penetrating the surface and enhances the nutrients in the water. This lake is our major source of drinking water. Maybe we should start considering the consequences of what we are doing and not wait until it is too late.





Anonymous said...

This is outrageous. I can hear boats from my property near the municipal hall.
It must be hellish at ground-zero.

Work-Safe has regulations re noise exposure--how are workers within the lake-shore zone being affected?
Has Work-Safe been out reading decibel levels, not to mention air quality?

I grew up in a small BC village that had a "Community Beach" for the enjoyment of the taxpayers who paid for the maintenance of this facility.

Perhaps it is time for a community boat-launch, with parking-permits issued at the start of the New Year.
PS. About 15 years ago Washington State parks banned sea-do's because of noise pollution. At that time there was an eight dollar fee to launch a boat.

Anonymous said...

I have not been for one swim this year. I have had it with the noise and danger.

When I lived at the coast the wave-action at the shore ensured that boats kept there distance from swimmers and non-motorized craft.

This scenario is an accident waiting to happen.

CHBC are you out there?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, when Greater Vernon Services (now GVAC) expanded the Kalavista parking lot (purchased the old house at the head of the lagoon, and pushed back the parking to the tennis courts) they created an expectation of unlimited access to the lake for power boaters. Despite a vocal outcry from many, including the locals, and an expensive Parks and Rec Master Plan that called for "reduction of powerboats on the north end of the lake", the plan proceeded. So here we are today, despite a slight reduction in trailer parking in the Kalavista lot, and "no trailer parking" along Kalamalka Road, with a congestion problem only a bonehead couldn't have predicted.

Like many who have relocated here, it has taken me years to understand the ridiculous governance structure of our parks and beaches, and I suspect most people do not take the time to learn whether control comes from Coldstream, NORD, or Vernon; they are all players at the head of Kal Lake. And once you are on the water you are beginning to get into provincial and federal jurisdiction problems.

My solution on the land based problem is simple, and it hasn't changed in years....give Greater Vernon residents annual passes at a nominal charge, install a parking kiosk for all other boaters with a charge large enough to cover enforcement costs to the district and large enough to make Kekuli attractive ( in jurisdictions like Chestermere Lake in Calgary, this is $40 a day). If the problems persist, reduce the parking area further. As for problems on the lake the solution can only come from more enforcement on water, coupled with whatever restrictive bylaws can be written by municipal governments.

Anonymous said...

I doubt you can hear boats that far away you are probably hearing cars or motorbikes. I used to live near the municipal hall and could not hear boats. There are no large loud boats even using Kalamalka Lake , it is too small to accomodate cigar style boats. I now live near the lake and do not find the boats that noisy. It seems people are grasping at straws and blowing this out of proportion. I have used this launch and lake many times and have never witnessed anything like these people are suggesting. That is not to say that it is not happening to some degree but it is happening everywhere in the Okanagan. Perhaps people should consider what it is like in the Okanagan and close to the lakes before purchasing here. It is known for being busy in the summer. Lake Watch has only 2 reports for the year about bad boaters. We now pay commissionaires and the people who run lake watch because of local residents blowing things out of proportion. As a boater I do not pollute and I go out of my way to pick up refuse from the lake. Much of this refuse (Ihave witnessed Lakeside property owners dumping dog crap in the lake)also comes from beaches and parks not just boaters. We should have a town hall meeting and see what can be done to make things better for all involved and affected. It would be better to figure out things together rather dividing the community on this issue. What is Council doing to resolve this?

Anonymous said...

Dear Doubter,

We have been here over 2 decades, we should not have to move because a relatively new irritant has emerged.

I am offended at the suggestion that anyone should have to bear the cost of moving which is a small hardship when compared to the wrench of leaving family, friends, community, physicians etc.

Summer happens to be brief and sweet in this area, why must we be expected to give up our peace and quiet at this special time for a few?

Re noise: have no doubt, sound does reverberate up the Coldstream Creek valley to our home near the municipal hall. We can hear the Halloween fireworks at Kal beach, we can both hear emergency vehicles and see their lights on the highway by the landfill. Last year we were kept up by early morning pounding music from Funtastic.

Sound travel in strange and unexpected ways in valleys.

Residents have the right to freely enjoy their homes in this community despite what is tolerated or endured in other jurisdictions.

A little respect and consideration builds neighbourly communities.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess, the majority of the "complainers" live on the lake, and have all year unlimited access to it, and want to keep it their little oasis that no one else can enjoy. I work in the area at least two days a week and IT IS NOT THAT BAD! So what its busy a couple months of the year, once school starts again the noise is gone. I live next door to an orchard. Every morning they shoot off the propane cannons, sure it wakes me up every morning but thats part of living next to an orchard. Move away if its such a big deal!

Anonymous said...

This boat launch is no different than any other infrastructure that hasn't kept up with growth. Paddlewheel, although bigger, is one big pot hole and some pretty tight corners to navigate around. Kekuli, is a well-designed launch. Some simple changes would certainly ease the stress: make it wide enough for two trailers, not 1 and 1/2, make a longer dock so boats don't hover around private beaches. Also, someone to monitor time taken (or better yet, hire a skilled driver to launch for people who can't do it efficiently) to launch and pick up would help. There's no reason other than skill that anyone should take any more than 2-5 minutes to launch and load. What would really help would be some permanent slips so that locals wouldn't need to launch, may I suggest the "country club"? Vernon missed the mark decades ago with lake access. Have a look at Peachland and a strip along Okanagan Centre where lakefront is accessible to all, not just the privileged few that we see in this area.

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The opinions expressed by "Coldstreamer" are strictly his own and do not represent the opinions of Coldstream Council!

Because I value your thoughtful opinions, I encourage you to add a comment to this discussion. Don't be offended if I edit your comments for clarity or to keep out questionable matters, however, and I may even delete off-topic comments.

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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.