Since the federal government released its intentions to regulate high-powered motorized boats in the main stem of the Columbia River between Invermere and Golden, as well as the main stem of the river near Fairmont Hot Springs, the feedback has been passionate.
The Ministry of Transportation published the proposed regulation on Apr. 2, starting the month-long public comment period.
Wildsight has been working with the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations over the past 14 years to implement boating regulations on the Columbia Wetlands and the River through the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area (CWWMA).
“First and foremost, the 20 hp regulation came from the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship partners (http://www.cwsp.ca/), a multi stakeholder organization. The regulation was unanimously supported by 18 groups in 2009, and from there it went to Ottawa where it has been making its way through the regulatory process. There has been much consultation and consensus on this. It was a compromise, designed to allow for what was reported to be common use on the river, while still protecting the environment,” said Ellen Zimmerman, a member of Wildsight and concerned citizen who has been following this issue closely for 20 years.
“This regulation is designed to protect the environment, wildlife and wildlife habitat in the world renowned Columbia Wetlands,” said Wildsight’s Robyn Duncan in a letter. “Wildsight has worked over the years with many stakeholder groups to reach a compromise of 20 horsepower, which is designed to accommodate historic and common usage of the river while still providing environmental protection. This 20 hp compromise is widely supported. The regulation does not apply to either Lake Windermere or Columbia Lake. They will remain unaffected.”
Not everyone is providing positive feedback, however, The Golden Rod and Gun Club has publicly stated that they have not seen scientific studies cited in the legislation that prove horsepowered watercrafts will harm the Columbia River, and would like to see an environmental impact study before their rights are restricted (see page 3 in this Apr. 27 issue of The Golden Star print edition). *1
Residents have until the first week of May to provide any feedback to the ministry. More detailed information on the proposed regulation can be seen at http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2016/2016-04-02/html/reg2-eng.php.
1*This article appeared in the print edition of the Apr. 27 issue of the Golden Star with an error. It states that the Rod and Gun club would like to see scientific studies that show horsepowered watercrafts will harm the wetlands, while it SHOULD have stated that the Rod and Gun club would like to see scientific studies that show horse powered water crafts will harm the Columbia River. The Rod and Gun club supports regulations that protect the wetlands. We apologize for the error.