Last month, the B.C. Government turned down a proposal for a 90-berth moorage facility on Lake Windermere in the East Kootenay.
Local newspaper The Columbia Valley Pioneer reported four reasons for the decision:
- The first was unmitigated environmental concerns:
- the marina was proposed in a key habitat area,
- there was insufficient evidence provided by a qualified environmental professional,
- and an environmental mitigation strategy or management plan was not provided by the proponent.
- The second was impacts to public use, asserting the public would gain no social or economic benefit from such a structure.
- The third was First Nations considerations: that the proposed facility would have adverse impacts on Aboriginal interests.
- Lastly, that a Land Act authorization would not provide authority to remove private buoys, with no evidence indicating that locating a group moorage facility would result in a reduction in the number of private buoys.
Environmental concerns cited that the marina is in key habitat area, which is known because of the work of the East Kootenay Integrated Lake Management Partnership (EKILMP).
EKILMP completed a Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping (SHIM) project on Lake Windermere where shoreline habitat values were assessed, and risk ratings were determined for common shoreline activities. The habitat value for the area in question was determined to be “orange”, and therefore a marina development would pose high risk to fish and wildlife habitat.
Living Lakes Canada, which served as Chair for the EKILMP for 8 years, congratulates the EKILMP and its partners for producing Shoreline Development Guidelines that identify key habitat areas for fish and wildlife, and guide shoreline development activities to protect the areas of highest ecological value.
Similar Shoreline Development Guidelines have been created for 13 lakes, rivers and reservoirs across the Columbia Basin.