It may not be boating weather right now but a battle is brewing over what future boating seasons will look like on the Shuswap River.
A proposal up for debate at a regional district committee meeting this week is calling for speed restrictions for all boats.
Boats would be limited to 45 km/hr from Mara Lake to Tuey Park, with 10 km/hr limits in the area of Grindrod Park and in the popular tubing area between Tuey Park and the City of Enderby Bridge.
Then further upstream from the City of Enderby Bridge to Mabel Lake the maximum speed would be 15 km/hr, with a annual fall closure of the river to boats from Trinity Valley Bridge to Mabel Lake to protect salmon.
There would also be no towing anywhere on the river from Mara Lake to Mabel Lake.
“I’ve had it from both sides. There are people that are pro-boaters and people who are pro-river, Everybody’s had their input,”electoral area director Herman Halvorson said.
Area residents have wildly polarized views on the proposals. There is debate over whether the rules would prevent erosion.
“Boats, when they head up past the bridge, they don’t think anybody is keeping an eye on them so they really start just tearing it up and the waves are causing the erosion on the beaches. For example, my mother-in-law has already lost a ton of property including her driveway,” Grindrod resident Dianne Honeyman said
But others disagree that boats are the main erosion culprit
“At high water this river is like 10 feet up and that causes more erosion than any boat would ever cause,” Enderby resident Pat Weaver said.
And one can agree on whether the suggested rules for boats would actually make the river safer.
Some feel like the status-quo with no speed restrictions is dangerous.
“As soon as they get up past the bridge, those boats just act like they own the place and they don’t care about people swimming,” Honeyman said.
But others argue rules aren’t needed to keep the river safe.
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“I don’t think the speed restrictions are important, most of it is pretty obvious, if there are tubers, you should go slow. The restrictions are all over the map, they want different speeds all over the river and I don’t think anyone’s going to be able to follow them,” Enderby resident Tyler Simmons said.
The potential rule changes for boats on the Shuswap River are expected to be discussed a regional district committee meeting on Thursday.
The proposal is preliminary and would have to jump through several more hoops to take effect.
However, the controversy will flow as long as the debate over the future of boat use on the river continues.
A previous proposal that would have banned motorized boats on two sections of the river was also highly controversial.
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