All is silent on semi-waterfront docks in the Shuswap. Minister Thomson was on NL radio last week and told Jim Harrison that a new policy will be announced soon. This is the same message we’ve been getting for the last 2 years.
We have a new potential problem with docks and the CSRD. I’ve been tracking a dock application in Anglemont for the last 3 years. The usable area of the dock is 24.5 m2 although the CSRD considered it to be 31.5 m2 as the owner had some decorative log slabs added to the sides and ends for aesthetic reasons. It took the owners 2 years to get through the provincial process for specific authorization because it was larger than 24 m2. This cost thousands of dollars for the environmental assessment. Fortunately the owners were able to do their own bathymetric survey to determine the required ramp length to meet the 1.5 m water depth requirement.
They then applied for a development permit that was rejected by the Manager of Development Services because the dock was larger than 24 m2. As Kafkaesque as this sounds, they then retained 2 separate lawyers who finally convinced the CSRD that it should be brought to the board for reconsideration. Although staff continued to recommend that the reconsideration be denied, the board voted in favour with the only dissenting vote coming from Falkland.
As Alice noted, the story gets curiouser and curiouser. Bylaw 900 has a maximum dock size of 24 m2 as a direct result of instructions given to the CSRD from the province. In this case, the province issued specific approval for a larger dock based on the environmental assessment and the bathymetric survey. Cleary the province was OK with the larger dock but the Manager of Development Services disagreed with the biologists from the province. Why is anyone’s guess?
This is a great example of why a lot of waterfront owners are ignoring both the province’s and the CSRD’s permitting process.
It also points to the importance of SWOA’s new initiative on docks. SWOA approached the province last fall and asked that no new policies be introduced unless they were based on good and complete science. During the discussions, the Provincial biologists confirmed that additional Shuswap Lake specific research on fish behaviour should be done to determine if docks are good, bad, or indifferent for fish. They also confirmed that they have no funding to do research. SWOA offered to set up a steering committee that will include representatives from the province to facilitate and fund the research in collaboration with TRU in Kamloops. SWOA members will hear more about this initiative as it unfolds.
To read the whole story, go to the link below and bring up the agenda for June 18th. There is a link on page 5 of the agenda that has the complete board report.