The Kinbasket Reservoir Community Group is trying to resurface to address recreational and commercial uses of the lake.
The Golden and Electoral Area A community felt that issues weren’t being adequately addressed back in the early 2000s, and set out to take action.
At the time, the group raised issues about fish and wildlife monitoring, vegetation growth, and recreational opportunities. They were able to make a collaborative representation to BC Hydro, which was building a water use plan, and establish a debris management plan to minimize floating debris and stumps in the large reservoir, explained Town of Golden Mayor and former group member Ron Oszust.
After the group formed nearly 20 years ago, BC Hydro spent funding at Bush Harbour building the long boat ramp, which grants access to low and high water levels.
The community group had representatives in Valemount and Revelstoke, who are also impacted by reservoir levels and other issues. Oszust hopes the group will reignite now that there are more discussions ongoing about the reservoir and the Columbia River Treaty.
“It’s with that history that we’re now having conversations as the community of Golden,” he said. “Let’s get that old group revitalized and moving forward.”
The group goes beyond Golden, Revelstoke, and Valemount, and includes First Nations who have traditionally used the area.
“It’s about getting those four groups together, having conversations, looking at priorities,” Oszust said. “I do believe there is an opportunity for input, to be able to make a difference to stuff that happens on the Kinbasket.”
While the group hasn’t delved into the exact interests yet, they do plan on having those conversations soon, he added.
With increased activity on the lake, Oszust suggests the group could address camping, official sites, and other recreational opportunities.
“The Bush Harbour Derby is just an example that it is popular, it is used, and we need to start better planning for the future,” Oszust said.
Valemount has hosted a very successful derby on their end of the reservoir for many years, said derby organizer Dave Ratzlaff, adding that he is curious to see how the derby has helped their recreational services.
“This being our first one, we did not overly advertise it, as we needed to see how it went and learn to hold it,” Ratzlaff stated. “As these derbies can attract a lot of [anglers], we want this to grow and be successful.
Read more about the Kinbasket derby on Page 8A.