Testing the regulatory waters

Residents in the Lake Windermere area had their first chance to share ideas about regulation on and around the lake, and plenty more community consultation is on the way.

The Regional District of East Kootenay and the District of Invermere put out the first call for ideas that will help regulate Lake Windermere at an August 3 open house at the Windermere Community Hall.

Residents in the Lake Windermere area had their first chance to share ideas about regulation on and around the lake, and plenty more community consultation is on the way.

Right now, the Regional District of East Kootenay and the District of Invermere are focusing on two types of regulation suggested in the Windermere Lake Management Plan, which was completed earlier this year.

Surface water zoning would deal with the building of new structures on the water, from boat launches to marinas and mooring buoys.

A development permit area for the lake foreshore would provide direction on what property owners can and can’t do during development.

While there aren’t specific parameters set for the permit area, “it would be put in place with the idea of protecting the natural environment in mind,” said regional district planner Karen MacLeod. “So we would look at where we would want to do that and what the objectives of the development area would be.”

In most cases, the new regulations wouldn’t affect existing structures, she added.

“If we proceed with surface zoning for the lake, a comprehensive inventory will be done prior to bylaw adoption, so we’ll know what is currently on the lake in terms of docks and other structures and mooring buoys. So all those options would be preserved and grandfathered.”

The first Lake Windermere Management Plan Implementation Open House, held at the Windermere Community Hall August 3, gave residents a chance to see what regulations the districts are proposing for the lake, and gauge community interest in pursuing them.

“The feedback we’re looking for is to get an idea of what people’s concerns are and what people’s aspirations for the lake are,” explained MacLeod. “If there’s specific concerns about the regional district moving forward with this initiative and the implementation of the Lake Management Plan or, conversely, if there’s certain things they would like to see implemented and would like to see us do.”

The districts are planning several more rounds of community consultation, including a fall open house in Invermere, and MacLeod says there are as yet no firm plans for what the regulations will look like when they reach the bylaw stage.

Drafting of the regulations is scheduled to begin this winter, with adoption slated for late 2012.

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