RDEK plans less aggressive rules for Lake Windermere

RDEK and District of Invermere are moving ahead with plans to regulate development on and around Lake Windermere.

The Regional District of East Kootenay and District (RDEK) of Invermere are moving ahead with plans to regulate development on and around Lake Windermere, but the new rules will likely be narrower in scope than what’s been floated to residents over the past months.

The two local governments held a series of open houses in the back half of 2011, inviting residents to weigh in on a couple of regulatory options recommended in their Lake Windermere Management Plan.

With the first round of public input completed, the RDEK board has now asked staff to draft specific regulations for the lake, which will most likely be completed and out to the public in June.

“To date it’s been pretty general. It’s been, ‘here’s the development process, here’s some of the things we can and can’t do and might want to consider.’ Now it’s time to actually provide that detail,” says Andrew McLeod, manager of planning and development services for RDEK.

The regulations fall into two categories:

• Lake surface zoning would regulate the size and placement of structures built on the water, including marinas and mooring buoys.

• A development permit area (or DPA) would apply to property around the lake, potentially requiring builders to apply for development permits before moving forward with construction projects.

It’s the latter where the public will see the most change from what’s been on offer at the open houses, McLeod says.

“What the board has asked staff to move forward with is quite a bit different than what was recommended in the management plan,” he says.

“It’s much more focused on key environmental attributes of the lake. So it’s much narrower in scope and applicability.”

That means staff will look at setting up a permit area specifically for parts of the shoreline that are known to be environmentally sensitive.

While much of the shoreline is flagged as such, areas such as Lakeview Meadows and Terra Vista have large swaths of  shoreline without that designation.

McLeod says the narrowing of the regulations is in keeping with feedback from the public so far, “don’t over-regulate, make sure you’re addressing the important things.”

The RDEK plans to send residents a newsletter on the regulation process so far, which should hit mailboxes in the next few weeks.