The City of Vernon wants to shore up its parks and public places bylaw by moving forward with bylaw amendments in regards to regulating the public use of the Paddlewheel Park boat launch.
In a report to council, the city’s manager of protective services, Darren Lees, said two-to-three vessels have been mooring alongside the outside of the boat launch docks over the past few months for extended periods.
A sign at the launch says the maximum time for mooring there is 20 minutes. However, the city’s parks and public places bylaw has not been amended with specific regulations for the boat launch.
“As this is a very busy launch site, these vessels present a considerable safety concern for users who have launched their vessel and are trying to move to a safe area at the outside of the launch docks to quickly and safely load passengers and or equipment,” said Lees. “These vessels may also present an obstruction to emergency services such as the RCMP or Vernon Search and Rescue, should they need to quickly access the launch from the water during a critical life safety event.”
The Okanagan Landing District Community Association (OLDCA) has provided a letter of support to formalize the appointment of the city as an agent of the OLDCA to enforce all laws and bylaws relating to leased areas. That includes the water lease and boat launch.
“Recent issues with boats being moored for extended periods is especially important to our community association members and board of directors,” said Cyril Karvonen, OLDCA president. “This is a very busy boat launch and it is prudent to enforce this restriction for the safety of the launch, the lake and all its users.”
Becoming an agent of the OLDCA will enable the city to manage the Paddlewheel launch in a more effective manner.
“It will allow the parks manager to establish boat launch regulations to support existing ‘Mooring Maximum 20 Minutes’ signage already on-site,” said Lees. “Enforcement action can then occur to deter vessels from mooring to the launch docks beyond the specified 20-minute maximum time.”
Mayor Victor Cumming said he’s received quite a few phone calls from the public on the matter.
“This is a public boat launch, this is not somewhere to moor at,” said Cumming. “If they want to moor their boat against a wharf, there are places to do that. And those places are not a public boat launch.”
Council voted unanimously to move forward with the amendments.