By on February 8, 2012

Osoyoos resident David Yanor made a presentation to town council on Monday asking them to ban or place severe restrictions on powerboats that use large engines on Osoyoos Lake in the next three to five years. Councillors thanked Yanor for his detailed presentation and promised to consider his requests in the coming weeks and months. Photo by Keith Lacey

An Osoyoos man has urged town council to implement a plan over the next three to five years that would ban or strictly prohibit large, polluting engines on Osoyoos Lake.

David Yanor, who moved to Osoyoos seven years ago, made a special presentation to town council Monday morning, citing extensive data he’s compiled which clearly shows gas-powered engines on power boats are one of the largest contributors of water, air and noise pollution on any lake.

“You have the power to make this town something special” by implementing a long-term plan for Osoyoos Lake that would encourage more watercraft that don’t use engines and put in place policies to discourage and eventually ban or severely limit the use of watercraft propelled by large, powerful engines, said Yanor, who owns an 18-foot sailboat, which is powered by a four-horsepower motor when necessary.

One study he researched to present to council indicates the amount of pollution caused by one two-stroke, gas-powered engine from a watercraft causes more air and water pollution than 50 motor vehicles and another study indicated the amount of water and air pollution caused by watercrafts in the United States is larger than that caused by all cars, trucks and buses, said Yanor.

“There is insidious damage being caused to this lake by the continual use of gas-powered engines can be stopped,” he said. “They cause significant water and air pollution and with the bigger boats and motors, noise pollution as well.”

Yanor urged town councillors to install policies which would clearly make this community and Osoyoos Lake “the centre of green thinking and green municipal policy.”

Current policies which charge the same docking fees for a sailboat and huge powerboat don’t make any sense and should be changed and powerboats that use four-stroke engines rather than two-stroke engines that cause 50 per cent more pollution, should be given a 50 per cent deduction as well, said Yanor.

“Obviously a sailboat causes far less damage than a twin-150-horsepower motor,” he said. “But they’re still being charged the same … that doesn’t make any sense to me.”

If council were to hold a referendum with the citizens of Osoyoos to ban large powerboat engines on the lake, Yanor said “there’ s no doubt it would be overwhelmingly supported.”

Osoyoos Lake is the crown jewel of this community and community leaders have an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy by adopting policies that discourage and perhaps ban large, powerful engines from being used, Yanor said.

“Can we ignore the enormous damage that is being done to this last as time goes on?” he asked rhetorically. “This council can leave a lasting legacy for years for residents and visitors.”

Mayor Stu Wells said he “completely agrees” with the damage being caused by boats powered by two-stroke engines as many communities in and around Los Angeles have banned gas lawnmowers because of the tremendous amount of pollution they cause.

Coun. Mike Plante said the town’s lake sustainability task force has discussed some of the issues presented by Yanor and the task force is trying to identify long-term solutions to determine how Osoyoos Lake can best be used to serve the needs of all users.

Plante thanked Yanor for making his detailed presentation and ensured him this issue and his ideas will be discussed in the future by members of council as well as the task force.

Wells also thanked Yanor for his passionate and informative presentation and assured him many of the issues he has brought forward will be discussed and debated by council moving forward as it’s in the best interests of everyone to ensure Osoyoos Lake remains a clean, healthy and vibrant body of water for generations to come.

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  1. Vic Blue

    February 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Has any consideration been given to the fact many people in the summer are not locals? They come from all around, spend money on accomodations, food and drink etc. Tell that to a family that want to vacation in the South Okanagan and bring their boat with them along with the kids…..”sorry you have to go elsewhere”. They will! Good luck on this> Before you make a decision for “generations to come”…make it right! signed: A 40 year resident of the Okanagan

  2. Les W. Dewar

    February 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I think all boats with motors should be banned on Osoyoos Lake. Let them run on Skaka or Okanagan Lake where there is more room. Less lake damage will be done on those lakes than on this little lake. This lake is far too small to have large motor boats on it.

  3. Bill

    February 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Vic has stated exactly why the town council is afraid to do anything about all the problems motorized boater cause. Pollution is an issue but pales by comparison to the lives that are lost because of these high power boats being driven by irresponsible drivers. If the council doesn’t respect the safety and lives of the lake goers, they certainly won’t care about pollution.
    If you look at Cultus lake you will see that many vacationers won’t go there now because of the bad boaters. So, the council doesn’t realize that they will probably gain as many vacationers as they would lose with a responsible boating policy.

  4. William

    February 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I have seen it coming. Osoyoos lake will be the twin of Cultus Lake.
    No question about it.
    Incidentally, insurance companies like to know if one goes boating on Cultus Lake, for then a higher premium will be charged.
    A small town council with big ideas foreign to them rules the roost.

  5. RDR

    February 9, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I am curious about what type of boats David Yanor would like to see removed from the lake. He makes reference to twin 150 h.p. motors. This type of configuration is often seen on the stern of race boats. Two-stroke engines definitely are more polluting than four-strokes, but the real danger these boats present are the speeds that they operate at. At least once per year I spot a 40+ foot off-shore style race boat speeding across our lake. I am more concerned about that boat’s ability to stop than I am about its emissions. Either way, I agree it should be gone. If, however, Mr. Yanor is saying he would like to see a 22 foot four-stroke inboard, for example, removed from Osoyoos Lake; then his proposal will not get far. Recreational use of Osoyoos Lake is the main reason people come here in the summer. In short, motorized boats drive our economy.

  6. Angie

    February 10, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Well, I’d say it’s about time someone spoke up about the direction the town is going… I visit Osoyoos in the summer and the lake is way too rowdy to enjoy these days so I am rethinking my vacation plans. Too bad because we have been going there for years but it’s not family-friendly anymore and no one wants to buy places there because it attracts too many skids in the summer who have no consideration for residents.

  7. Carrie

    February 10, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Banning motor boats on Osoyoos Lake would be detrimental to tourism. Summer residents make this town, and to ban these boats would drive them out to other locations for their holidays. Perhaps instead of an out and out ban (which is just a knee-jerk reaction IMO), the current rules and regulations should be better enforced. As a year-round resident of the area, we often take our little boat out during the summer months, and we have yet to see any law enforcement out there. True, there are people who choose to flout the regulations with huge wake boats by moving too fast along the shoreline as well as mid-lake, so I believe we need more of a policing presence out there. They need to start checking licenses and watch for offenders who make boating less enjoyable (and dangerous) for the rest of us, especially the sailors and fishermen. Why let a few bad apples spoil the area for those of us that DO follow the rules?

  8. joe lovas

    February 11, 2012 at 7:48 am

    by getting rid of the big motor powered boats you also get rid of the rude owners of those boats who think that they own the lake, I hope Davids request goes through sooner than later. Yes you will loose vacationers to the town but, those are the ones you SHOULD loose! let’s get Osoyoos back to the quaint town we all were proud of.

  9. William Preston, Ph.D.

    February 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I heartily agree that power boats, especially large powerful ones should be banned on Osoyoos Lake! Joe Jovas and Les Dewar said it well!

  10. Ian

    February 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Maybe we should also ban big trucks pulling big RV’s into town and spending big money or motorcycles that make noise beacuse they must be bad people.

    To say that getting rid of boats with big motor is also going to get rid of rude people is really funny.

    Maybe, we should ban drinking in all of Osoyoos because that is linked to rude people or how about jet skis and the list goes on and on.

    You have to be kidding me!

  11. Vic Blue

    February 12, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I have a question for Council….Is Osoyoos Lake governed under Federal Laws for boating?
    To answer to the statement made by one of the residents ” we want our quaint little town back” well take it back in your own mind then. The world is a changing place…change with it and make it safe for all with education not regulation.

    Enjoy your swim!

  12. joe lovas

    February 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Vic and Ian, if you haven’t noticed that the town during the tourist season has changed for the worst, be careful what you wish for, Osoyoos will end up like Penticton or Kelowna,,,,

  13. Doug Pederson

    February 13, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Turn down your hearing aids GeezerVille.

    I guess this will spell the end for the possibility of hydroplane boat races returning..

    As for polluting the lake. BS. What is the quality of the lake right now. Don’t know? Ask Stu Wells. They keep this info from us. A person who did water studies in our water system said they “wouldn’t swim in this lake” Why isn’t the information shared.

  14. john lino

    February 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    why don’t we just put speed limits on certain parts of the lake so we can have everyone enjoy the lake,like the north end 10 or 5 kph so kyakers and sail or canoes can enjoy plus for those guys fishing because the worst thing is having boats pulling water skiiers right by you while your fishing or kayaking is the worst!!

  15. Arlene Ferguson

    February 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    I really think not allowing power boats on the lake is going to stop a lot of vacationers from coming to our small town it is bad enough in the winter when the sidewalks roll up. I worked in one of the motels in town and the majority of the tourists had motor boats or water toys. Now theses tourists do bring money with them as well.

    How do you stop the boaats in the states.

    We already have a town where most families cannot live due to lack of jobs. So what is going to happen next? Who is going to take care of our seniors? No power boats ties into lack of jobs.

    We as a small town have to make sure that this is going to benefit all of us as well.

  16. Nathan

    February 17, 2012 at 8:12 am

    This is a good idea. Sorry to say that the conduct I see on the lakes around here is the worst I have seen anywhere. We get a lot of trashy visitors who behave like they are in Mexico, complete with the “maybe I’ll take my money elsewhere” rhetoric.

    Let them, and let’s ban motors on Osoyoos.

  17. David

    February 20, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Wow- I can’t believe all the black and white back and forth.

    Our family recently purchased accommodation in Osoyoos with boating and weather as the main lure. I do agree somewhat with the comments posted here.

    I believe there is a happy medium. There is a compromise.
    But with all the harsh black and white opinions everyone here forces out their throats there is no room for anyone to hear it…

    Come on folks, lets think logically and out of the box, long term residents, new residents, tourists a-like.

  18. Alberta

    February 23, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Osoyoos is known for water, sun and summer enjoyment? What else brings all the businesses revenue? No motorboats, no tourisim = No income? Osoyoss will become a ghost town? Come on people be real! Next someone will want to save the grapes!

  19. Concerned citizen

    February 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Are you kidding me???? It is unbelievable that some citizens of this town want to take away an activity which generates so much income to the community!! This would be like removing a cog on a gear….it would cause economic hardship on all of our stores/businesses which in effect hurt us all!

    Let’s get real and quit pulling the plug on fun!!! Education, enforcement and tolerance help to build good relations with all who share our glorious lake and community. Let’s educate everyone without having to be radical.

    For those who have lived here “forever”, it is time to be more open minded to the changes in our world. Maybe you need to move to a smaller community where no one visits….where housing is cheap and where you can bet there won’t be any boats to bother you…..oh yeah but you will have to drive a bit to get to a store to buy your groceries, etc… Good luck!

  20. Bob

    March 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I have a concern that there are too many power boats on the lake now during the peak summer months. I have even more concern that the number will increase with the completion of Cottages project on the north east side of the lake.
    Perhaps one to control the growth and quality of boaters Lake Osoyoos is register all power boats owned by resident and recreational property owners. For transient boats, instigate a permit system requiring payment of a fee. This way you have a comprehensive list of all the power boats being operated on the lake, including, the boat make, model, serial number, proof of licensing, proof of an operating certificate, proof of adequate insurance coverage etc. With the revenue generated from registrations and permits perhaps the Town could purchase a boat equiped for harbour patrol operations and from May until Thanksgiving have this unit patrolling the lake on a regular basis seven days a week. Perhaps there is a retired law enforcement officer that would be interested in position like this. To support that person, one or two summer students training in law enforcement could be hired on a seasonal basis.

  21. Bruce

    March 27, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    We have a cabin on the lake … Have been enjoying Osoyoos for decades.
    For the past number of years we avoid Osoyoos on long weekends because of the noise … Loud music from boats, sea-doos, and loud music from boats on the First Nations sand areas.

    If there is a noise by-law it is not enforced .. There will be more accidents .. As there are two many boats of all types on both sides of motel row operating during the summer days.

    I for one .. Will continue to come to Osoyoos .. But now I pick the times .. That are more to the lifestyle I wish to enjoy … Too bad has changed.

  22. Sandra

    March 31, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Reading the various comments posted so far, it appears there is quite a polarization of those either for or agin power boats on the lake. What I understand Mr Yanor to be proposing, is an equal and respectful share of the lake for BOTH power boat users and non powered activities, with the proactive view point of protecting the future of the lake’s water quality. Is this not a reasonable option for ALL users of Osoyoos lake whether a resident or a visitor? Tourism is a necessity for this town without a doubt but it should not be driven wholly by short sighted and self interested people alone. I believe there is a solution to sharing this beautiful town’s attributes with everyone who loves to be here for the same reasons. Mr Yanor is not suggesting an ultimate ban on all power boats but a logistical way of reducing offenses to the environment (and users of the lake) as well as advocating alternative sports that the lake lends itself to. If we are to remain an appealing community to live in and visit, we should make every effort to exercise that community spirit for the benefit of all.

  23. Lynn

    April 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I wonder how much pollution is caused to the lake by all the ducks and geese sitting out on the ice in the winter and all the bird poop that lands in the lake once the ice melts. I agree that the loud boats on the lake are a serious problem and I would like to see more action taken to stop the loud stereo noise and the loud motors, but as far as pollution to the lake goes, I think the geese and duck poop is probably a more serious problem.

  24. Mike

    April 15, 2012 at 7:20 am

    There are some serious misstatements of fact here that are being used to overblow the situation.

    90% of the boats on osoyoos lake any given summer afternoon are already 4 stroke tournament style ski boats. I in fact ran one of the last two stroke outboards until this year (after 34 years of comming to this great town every summer). Additionally, in those 34 years on the lake i have only ever witnessed 1 dual outboard configuration and it was on a fishing style boat, not the screaming race type boats mr. Yanor would lead you to believe are endemic on the water.

    There could be arguments made around the “offshore” type boats as it pertains to noise pollution as there have been cases of some which are equiped with exhaust systems that allow water injection (meant to muffle noise) to be turned off emmitting a an excess amount of noise but again, the frequency with which this happens is rare.

    These green advocates need to acknowledge that power boating is as much a part of osoyoos’s history and culture over the last 40 years as agriculture. It is one of the main drivers for tourism and 98% of the time is a safe, reasonably clean activity.

    Whats of greater concern and poses a bigger risk to safety on the lake each summer is the use of tubes. The tubers on the lake create the dangerouse driving patterns and excessive boat chop that has a much greater negative effect on the enjoyment of the lake. If previous news stories are reviewed you’ll find they are also the most common activity involved in injuries and fatal accidents on the lake. Banning tubes would go much further to improving the enjoyment and use of the lake for all types of boaters.

    But in reality this all boils down to the biggest challenge of regulating any type of craft or activity on the lake: enforcement. The resources simply dont exist to implement anything short of a full ban on any type of motorized boat (including Mr. Yanor’s combustion powered sail boat). The RCMP are not on thw water nearly enough to provide consistent adherence to any such policy so who would monitor and enforce such rules? Where would the funding come from (as inevitably the town would suffer serious revenue impacts resulting fro any type of ban)?

    Osoyoos lake is a boaters (all types) lake and if that isnt in line with some peoples expectations there are other lakes in the south okanagan wich are power boat free for them to enjoy.

  25. Liz

    May 10, 2012 at 9:44 am

    My family has been coming on holidays in the Okanagan for over forty years. I brought my own children to Osoyoos to camp over the last twenty and I now live here. I remember feeling safe to let my kids float around the lake and take the row boat out and to swim. One thing I have noticed is that whether then or now the town has always been packed with tourists, spending money in businesses. The motels were always full, it was difficult to get a camping site unless you were there first. My opinion is that the only difference is a change in the type of motor boats and behaviour allowed on the lake. My opinion also is that Osoyoos will never lose it’s appeal for a beautiful, warm vacation spot, or lose summer tourists if there was a ban. If anything there are a lot of tourists that refuse to come back. The only thing it’s not anymore is a pleasant place to relax, swim or enjoy a pleasant vacation with your family. There are some that say this is progress?? If you don’t want to listen to everyone’s loud music and feel grossed out when garbage tossed from boats float to shore and the pollution caused by the power boats stop people from swimming I guess Osoyoos wont be the place to come anymore to vacation or enjoy the lake if you live here. Also, the geese, ducks and other birds are a natural part of the area and have been here long before us. That is what is special about a place like this and brings tourists from the city to enjoy.

  26. Alicia

    May 24, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Three jet boats with loud stacks were racing along the south basin near Lakeshore Drive during May Longweekend last weekend. Not sure where they came from but these are the kind of boats that should be banned, (if they aren’t already). The Ski-Nautique type boats and smaller ski-boats are not a problem! Think about all those families and the spending money they bring with them in the summer months- that is what supports most of the businesses in this town. Ban all motorboats (effectively turning this lake in to another Vaseaux Lake) will mean half the town will move away due to no jobs, and half or more of the businesses will close, starting with all the motels and remaining campgrounds which are already struggling due to high taxes, climbing insurance, higher and higher bills for electricity, and other costs along with the shrinking amounts of drive-in customers we need for May, June and Sept. If you don’t welcome all the repeat tourist families that come here (some for several generations now) to enjoy the lake including skiing and other watersports you will see this little town quickly become just a dustbowl bordertown with a broken economy, which is the last thing this town needs right now.

  27. Joe

    May 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Bob seems to be the only person her with some perspective. Banning power boats on the lake is rash and will have terrible consequences economically. We share the water system with the rest of the okanagan chain so a ban will have little to no discernible impact on water quality. We also share a border with the US (try getting them to stop using power boats on this lake). The short answer is that a ban will do much more harm than good and benefit only special interest groups like the sailor who started this whole debate. That being said, the lake is increasingly busy and dangerous in the summer. The introduction of policies like registration of all power boats owned by resident and recreational property owners and fee based permit systems for transient boats is the answer. This would not stop long term, responsible users of the lake from returning year after year but would deter the so called “Bad Apples” who are driving recklessly and playing loud music. Prohibition doesn’t stop anything

  28. Kevin Nelson

    June 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I visit my parents place every summer who live on the lake and use my bayliner powered by a 150HP outboard to pull my kids around. I grew up in the area and it would deter my visits to Osoyoos and limit alot of tourists that drive the economy if power boats were banned or limited. How are you going to tell the US side of Osoyoos Lake that they cant drive their boats? I have yet to see the Canadians regulate the Americans Laws… Good luck with that. Think before you open Pandoras box. As a duel citizen from the USA I haope that the decision to police the law breakers on the Canadian side of the lake will prevail. My parents live next door to a RCMP officer and there is a patrol presence that can work as a solution for everyone.

  29. Aris Nelson

    June 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I live on the Lake and enjoy my children and grandchildren visiting to enjoy the use of the water sports we have here for them. It would be a shame to regulate away the ability of the law abiding citizens over the few that break the laws and abuse the speed limits and violate our lake. As a water front owner in Oliver on tucelnuit lake for 25 years it was understood that a lake that small should have no motor boat use. Osoyoos Lake is large and the river that flows thru it keeps the water quality high. Let us police the law breakers with big boats and keep our economy going so the tourists will keep coming to enjoy our beautiful lake. A lake of this size suits itself to boats very well and we do not want a retirement only town that has a canoe, kyak, sailboat only law that will drive the tourists away. How many tourists bring motorized boats versus nonmotorized boats? The people come to enjoy their boats and spend money in our economy. We need the revenue to keep our economy going.

  30. Kevin B

    August 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    We just spent 3 days at Haynes Point. I don’t think we should ban power boats but maybe some of the people driving the boats. A noise bylaw would be nice! Tell me, why do you have to have your music so loud..only one thing I can think of is you want people to look at you or you think it’s cool. I would suggest summer bylaw officers or RCMP auxillaries clamping down on some driving habits as well as noisy boaters. It’s all about thinking about other people instead of just yourself. I hope the kid driving his daddy’s 70K boat is reading this!

  31. Leo

    September 10, 2012 at 11:58 am

    In regards to all the statements about losing tourism dollars in the region, you are losing lots already. The week I spent there this summer was my one and only, I certainly will not return with my kids to a lake that has so little respect for family usage. Coming from the Kootenay Rockies, Skaha, Ok, and Shuswap are a regular destination for us. The boats there never bother me, plenty of room and a lot more respect. You’re certainly driving away the non-powerboaters, the $2K we spent will gladly go somewhere else as I don’t feel it was a very pleasant lake vacation.

  32. Alberta

    September 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    This is the 4th year in a row that our family has spent our summer vacation in Osoyoss and YES we have a Powerboat. I think people are making a mountain out of a mole hill! Yes there are boaters on this lake and all lakes that are not responible boaters. Have you been to the Shuswap or Mara Lake. The amount of houseboats and boaters going crazy on these lakes are really scary. Every boat has a regristration number on it much like a license plate on a car. Start reporting the abuse to the police? There are always bad apples in a basket and whether it’s on the lake or in the town this is the resposibility of the Police. Hello you locals make written complaints to your Mayor and Police and get rid of the “BAD APPLES”

  33. Sam

    November 21, 2012 at 3:22 am

    I agree big power boats should be banned from our lake. We will lose some visitors (good ridance)but will gain some as well. The quality of tourists will improve. Let those boaters go and pollute Okanagan or Skaha Lake. A cleaner quieter lake will attract the kind of visitors we want.

  34. randy

    December 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Yes, 2 stoke motors are a contributor to water polution,some what of air polution, and noise polution only takes effect when your at the sailing club Mr. david yanor! controll,yes, not BAN Mr Yanor! Banning will only take the good tourist revenue away from our town.. “Polution” ,you have to be kidding me one 2 stroke motor,more water polution than 50 automobiles,come on,that has to be a one of a kind oil burnin 2 stroke hey? Your compairing watter craft to automobiles witch have nothing to do with the water!!!Your study sucks! If your driveing down the road in your oil smokin car with the fender hanging off,and gas dripping on the road,they take it off the road utill you fix it!!!Dose this give anybody any ideas????? Theres lots of ignorance on our lake, sure I feel that PERSONAL WATERCRAFT,is the problem on the lake,they come with polution,noise and ignorance!!!As for your thoughts on fees for docking there all the same size when your parked yor parked,all the same size,and most town folks cant afford it anyways or wont pay that large dollar for a spot to park. You have to keep in mind that this isnt los angels or the U.S,of A ,its osoyoos and osoyoos lake we have to worry about!!Controll,Maintenance inspection by way of POLICEING!!!!!!If you ban, first the tourists then the revenue,then well im sure we all know……

  35. Powerboats for sale

    January 4, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Large boats should not be allowed in the lake.The lake should be kept clean and a stern eye should be kept to improve it,for visitor’s attraction.

  36. Allen Whitney

    January 5, 2013 at 6:44 am

    We have lived on the lake for the past 14 years and every year it becomes less enjoyable with the noisy boats, jet-skis and loud music. The lake should have a speed limit and large noisy boats should be banned.

  37. earl

    February 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I live a couple of blocks off the lake on a high area overlooking the beautiful scenery…untill some guy with a big V8 boat goes polluting(noise and environmentally) the valley…no speed limits or concern for others. I say ban them, sure you will lose those with the speed boats, but I surely believe that you will gain back those who no longer come here for that very reason. Vacationers, on the large part, dont come for the speed boats, they come for the weather, beauty, and peacefull nature this town provides. By the way, lake okanogan is actually a river chain, dumping from lakes, canals, and rivers that flow from the north eventually deposited into the columbia river, ultimately flushing everything into the pacific ocean in USA…this water system is polluted enough as it is, what with all the wastewater effluents, pesticides, fertilizers, and other man made scourges. Let them find another place to speed around in there boats, and those that do live here that have that type of watercraft can surely find other places as well. I believe that most that benefit from these boaters will be the gas stations and liquor stores of little osoyoos town. If there is a God, may He help our future generations.

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