The RDCO is waiting for information from their construction contractor regarding their schedule to resume work on the courtesy dock and viewing platform structures at the Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour Regional Park.
The courtesy dock construction has been on hold as the Regional District spent much time and effort to work with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, to amend the initial construction proposals that had received Ministry approval in late summer. That initial approval was based on the structures being designed and built at a level half a meter above the average high water mark of Okanagan Lake in order to ensure protection of the shore spawning fish in what the Ministry has identified as a ‘red’ zone.* The Ministry’s main mandate is to protect the fisheries habitat.
Once construction was underway it was clear that the courtesy dock located to the north of the main boat launch was too high above the water to assist those launching or loading their vessels.
Last month, with a report provided by Ecoscape Environmental Consultants, the Regional District submitted another application for Ministry consideration that would see the height of the dock lowered. On November 25 they learned the Ministry has reviewed the application to change the previously-approved design criteria for the courtesy dock structure and has now approved the dock installation with a top of the steel piling elevation of 342.6-metres above sea level, a reduction of approximately 45-centimetres (1½ feet).
Basically, we are now able to proceed by lowering the courtesy dock, dropping it about a foot and a half from its current height. In May, June and July, when the lake is usually at or above full pool, the dock should be much more functional for boaters using the main launch. As the level of the lake drops in subsequent months, and especially during the fall shore spawning fish season, the dock will be higher than the normal level of the lake. Vertical boat bumpers and two wooden ladders ae also planned for installation along the last 12 feet of the courtesy dock to further assist those using the main boat launch.
With Ministry approval for the new courtesy dock height, the RDCO anticipates their contractor will be able to resume construction. The contractor has been able to work around ongoing use of the launch without having any full time closure of the harbour. The RDCO trusts this arrangement will continue, although fewer boaters are using the facility as we approach the winter months.
As a reminder, in June the Regional Board approved the plan to remove the south breakwater structure because it was badly deteriorating, rotting and falling apart and impossible to repair or salvage. In addition, as outlined in the RDCO’s approved application by the Ministry, current standards do not allow in-water batter boards in areas of fish habitat. At its June 26 meeting the Regional Board required that no further work would be done to the north breakwater area, pending further consultation with the District of Lake Country.
-District of Lake Country