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City shies away from legislation, looks at funding additional buoys

Buoys may be added to next year’s municipal budget in response to a request from the Shuswap Naturalist Club for greater protection of foreshore nesting areas.

In December, city council received a letter from the club requesting that a bylaw be considered preventing all types of water craft from entering nesting areas between April and August.

“This summer there were numerous sightings of kayakers, canoeists, boaters and paddle boarders in the restricted area,” writes Sarah Weaver on behalf of the club and the Salmon Arm Nature Bay Enhancement Society (SABNES).

Weaver notes western grebes are particularly sensitive to disturbance from recreational boating.

Instead of passing a bylaw, Coun. Ken Jamieson asked if the city could help out by covering the cost of additional buoys to mark the sensitive areas.

“I’m just wondering if that would be a suggestion that we can consider for next year’s budget, rather than making more rules?” asked Jamieson.

In response, engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen said the city has recently placed signage in the foreshore areas, notifying boaters of nesting/environmentally sensitive areas.

“The city also installed signage in the Marine Park area to notify pet owners to keep their pets on a leash all the time in Marine Park, and to keep them away from nesting areas and wildlife there… The buoys, we can look at that in the next budget,” said Niewenhuizen.

Coun. Chad Eliason said it’s the wake from motorized boats that’s causing shoreline erosion, beyond “what an old-fashioned windstorm would do,” and that if council wanted to get serious about foreshore protection, it would look at establishing a non-motorized area. Coun. Alan Harrison, however, favoured education over restrictions.

“Because what I think is happening is people in kayaks, on paddle-boards and canoes – I mean, you can’t miss the signage; it’s clear – but I think what they think is that because it’s not a power boat, it’s not causing a problem,” said Harrison. “So, I’m not sure how we address that. Maybe something clear about those kind of vessels. Because I don’t think those people are intentionally wanting to harm the nesting areas either. They just think this is a nice quiet little boat and they can just go in there.”

Weaver explains that boaters need to be aware that there will be consequences if they enter restricted areas.

“Public education is certainly part of the equation, but the ability to enforce is also necessary,” writes Weaver.

 

 

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