Shuswap River Vessel Operating Restriction Regulations
In 2013 and 2014 two UBCO undergraduate students from the Earth and Environmental Studies and Geography department conducted field research projects on the Lower Shuswap River. The projects focused on bank erosion and boat traffic and the final project reports for each of the projects are available here:
- 2013 - River Bank Erosion and Boat Wakes Along the Lower Shuswap River, British Columbia
- 2014 – River Bank Erosion Processes Along the Lower Shuswap River
Proposed Shuswap River Vessel Operating Restriction Regulations
In June 2016, the Shuswap River Boating Regulations, Public Consultation Survey Analysis report was received from Urban Systems. Based on the feedback received and analysis of the survey results, it was clear there are polarized views on the proposed boating regulations. Given the lack of consensus; the Board of Directors passed the following motion “That a consultant be retained to work with the community and local groups, including First Nations, to review options for the entire Shuswap River to foster greater consensus with regard to proposed Shuswap River Vessel Operating Restriction Regulations.”
A Request for Proposals was issued on September 8, 2016 for a second phase of public consultation. The RDNO has now completed an evaluation of the proposals received and are pleased to have Alex Grzybowski of Pacific Resolutions take on the second phase of public consultation for the Proposed Shuswap River Vessel Operating Restriction Regulations.
Stakeholders will be contacted in the coming months and the project is expected to take approximately four months to complete.
The results of the 2015 public feedback phase of the Shuswap River Vessel Operating Restriction Regulations are now available.
The Survey results and public feedback report was presented to the Electoral Area Advisory Committee on July 7th, 2016. The Electoral Area Advisory Committee has passed a resolution recommending to the Board of Directors that a consultant be hired to work with the community and local groups including First Nations to determine a new option or proposal that could foster consensus.
A partnership of organizations, coordinated by the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO), sought feedback on possible Vessel Operating Restriction Regulations (boating regulations) for the Shuswap River. The partnership includes:
- Regional District of North Okanagan
- Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce – River Ambassadors
- Lower Shuswap Stewardship Society
- Vernon Protective Services – Safe Communities Unit
- City of Enderby
- Enderby and District Service Commission
Federal and provincial government departments have provided technical input on the proposed regulations and will continue to provide guidance as the process unfolds.
The decision to pursue boating regulations for the Shuswap River has come about due to numerous occasions where community groups and residents have raised concerns with respect to the impacts of motorized vessels on the Shuswap River over the past 20 years. These concerns were captured and reinforced during the development of the Shuswap River Watershed Sustainability Plan (SRWSP) which was endorsed by the RDNO Board of Directors in April 2014.
The development of the SRWSP was a three and a half year process, informed by a large number of community members through working groups and open houses. One of the priority issues that was identified during the plan development was the impact of motorized boats on the Shuswap River with respect to:
- recreational safety
- conflict between users
- bank erosion and disturbance
- critical salmon spawning grounds and other fish and wildlife.
In response to these concerns, strategies were developed in the SRWSP to consider boating regulations. For more information on the SRWSP please go to www.rdno.ca/shuswap
Proposed Boating Regulations for the Shuswap River
The Boating Regulations being proposed for the Shuswap River are as follows:
From the mouth of the Lower Shuswap River at Mara Lake to the Baxter Bridge (Trinity Valley Rd).
Vessel engine size limit of 10 Horse power.
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Lower Shuswap River from the Baxter Bridge (Trinity Valley Rd) upstream to the eastern (upstream) end of Skookumchuck Rapids Park.
No motorized vessels.
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From the mouth of Mid Shuswap River at Mabel Lake South upstream to the Shuswap Falls.
No motorized vessels.
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Vessel operating restriction regulations are the responsibility of Transport Canada and are established under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Any level of government (federal, provincial, municipal and territorial government authorities) can request federal government to restrict the use of all vessels on all bodies of water in Canada. Regulations may help achieve safety, environmental or public interest objectives and may:
- prohibit all boats
- limit engine power or type of propulsion
- impose speed limits
- restrict towing activities on any sporting or recreational equipment including wake surfing
- prohibit a sporting, recreational or public event or activity
Transport Canada Regulations do not include a “no-wake zone” regulation option. Therefore, in order to achieve a significant reduction in waves created by wakes the proposed regulations specify a vessel engine size restriction of 10 horse power in Zone 1. A speed restriction was also considered, however speed restrictions are difficult to enforce. They require specialized equipment and training for enforcement agencies and that enforcement staff are on-site when an infraction is occurring. Reporting is also difficult as a bystander cannot prove the speed being travelled.
The Eagle River has an existing speed restriction which is difficult for enforcement agencies to enforce due to geography and time. Unless an officer is already in the area, it takes a long time to respond and the offender will likely be gone.
We thank you in advance for your feedback on this important management issue for the Shuswap River.
Please direct inquiries to:
E-mail: [email protected]