By on February 22, 2012

Dear Editor:

With regard to the recent proposal submitted to council to ban large motorboats from Osoyoos Lake, I wish to put my support totally behind this initiative.
I read with interest the recent presentation by local resident David Yanor to Town of Osoyoos council regarding his recommendation to ban large motorboat engines from Osoyoos Lake within the next three to five years.
His presentation has got a lot of people in this community talking about the future of the lake.
Beginning with the lake as a chief attraction/lifeline for this community, many arguments can be put forth in support of the individual citizen or tourist’s behaviour or values pitched against the rights or needs of the commons.
Of all of these, the weakest argument will always be from the viewpoint of the wildlife, biology and botany that co-exists with us here as they have no voice.
As a community we need to be that voice and, in doing so, hold in balance the precarious needs of all of us in conjunction with our natural environment.
By doing just this in a thoughtful, intelligent manner we have an incredible opportunity to become a community of excellence.
In order to do this we must take personal initiative to put the lake and its health first and central.
The banning of large boats is just one of many streams of personal and community responsibility to this end.
Economically, the loss of large motorboats (less than 10 per cent of tourist traffic) will certainly affect some, but by working together we can more than compensate with the gains in sail craft, human powered and electrical powered watercraft.
This is highlighted by the recent arrival in Kelowna of a large boat company starting to manufacture electric motorboats large enough to hold many passengers.
We can use this as a starting point for a different direction of pleasure craft, more appropriate for the size and vulnerabilities of the Osoyoos Lake ecosystem.
From where I live, last summer, in a period of 30 minutes, I counted 140 different large motorboats, as well as dozens of personal watercraft, which are extremely polluting.
These large and powerful boats cause air, water and noise pollution.
At Christina Lake, I have had millfoil divers tell me how they can spot a personal watercraft trail by its pollution track.
Like many of my fellow Osoyoos citizens , I lived in Alberta before being pulled to this beautiful and warm oasis.
I watched this very scenario unfold over a period of 35 years as lake after lake (at least 25) moved from healthy fishing, broad-based recreation lakes to the arrival of larger and larger boats and the eventual decline and demise of these bodies of water.
As a community let us seriously work toward restoring the health of our lake.
The Town of Osoyoos is nothing with a dead lake.

Richard Walker
Osoyoos. B.C.

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  1. Les W Dewar

    February 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    What a great letter! I fully agree!

  2. joe lovas

    February 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    thank you Richard for bringing it forward in such a positive and great way, we can now only hope that the city reads your artical and the town folks support it.

  3. Concerned citizen

    February 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Are you kidding???? Quit taking pleasure away from all generations of people!!! THe majority of folks who use boats have a healthy mentality to keep our environment healthy as they want to keep using the lake for generations to come.

    What type of vehicle do you all drive? Maybe you should sell it and leave a smaller carbon footprint on the environment by walking everywhere you go.

    You need to consider the price this insane idea will cost to our community….without our tourists, Osoyoos will fail to thrive.

  4. Concerned citizen

    February 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    BTW, I do believe that Osoyoos already is and continues to be a community of excellence! Kudos to all that are making a difference!

  5. Alberta

    February 23, 2012 at 8:37 am

    You people are living in a dream world if you think Osoyoos will survive if families are not coming with boats during the summer to spend money at your Hotels, gas stations, resturants, etc. Next the town people will vote on banning “LARGE TRUCKS” coming into southern BC to pick up the fruit! The lake is only busy during the summer months and if you take a look in the off season do you see any boats! How can a small town decide this when you are dealing with cross border issues. Do the people who live in Osoyoos know that the lake runs in Canada as well and the US? Maybe you should get in a boat and take a look!

  6. D. Crooks

    February 24, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I remember years ago when they banned smoking from Tim Hortons and other doughnut shops. Many people said these shops would not survive without the support of the smokers. Well, it seems a healthier clientele took the place of the smokers and these shops have flourished. I believe the same analogy would apply to Osoyoos lake – once the motorboats are gone, the families with canoes, paddleboards and sailboats would arrive in much larger numbers and the local tourism would flourish. The lake would be much healthier, quieter and peaceful in the summer.

  7. camping industry worker

    February 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    As an employee in the camping industry and a member of the up and coming generation I would like to say that the majority of the feedback which I have received from tourists is that Osoyoos is trying to become a “miniature Kelowna” charging high prices, and building multiple high-end condos, but are doing so with a “disgusting lake”. The feedback which I have received states that Osoyoos was appealing when it resembled Kelowna, but was charging lower prices. However, now that Osoyoos is trying to put the same price tag on Osoyoos Lake as Okanagan Lake, tourists are not impressed. I have heard many complaints about Osoyoos’ dirty lake and many campers who are not willing to pay for it, especially considering the present economy. I think that Osoyoos would be better off trying a new approach at drawing in tourists. For instance, many middle class families (the majority of the population) miss what camping used to be-sitting around a fire with their family and friends, listening to music, getting candy from the candy shop, fishing in a pristine lake and enjoying nature. Osoyoos does not have the resources (lake capacity, space and attractions) to accommodate the tourist interested in driving around in a big boat. The new trend is green, and whether you agree with it or not, the only initiatives that are currently making money are green. So I say embrace the identity of a community that values their lake, promotes holistic and environmentally friendly camping, campground dances and barbecues, organic vineyard tours and Osoyoos will be the new big attraction. Everybody remembers fondly their camping experiences as a child-sitting by the fire roasting marshmallows, fishing with dad, and making friends in the campground. It are these positive memories that drive tourists to spend money in order to experience those same feelings again. Nobody is going to remember sitting in an air-conditioned RV, watching TV and swimming in the resort’s pool because the lake is too dirty, and people are going to stop paying for it.

  8. Mark

    March 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Let us not forget where the true cause of the pollution in this lake comes from. In case you haven’t noticed all the spraying that goes on in the orchards and vineyards. Besides the air born and possibly deadly substances that end up in your lungs, the subsequent irrigation that follows pushes the chemicals in to the ground, slowly making its way to the lake. 99% of the tourists that come here have brand new watercrafts as opposed to some very out dated spraying equipment. Ilive in the middle of a vineyard and when they spray they are wearing what looks like a body condom, yet my only defense is to close my windows. Bottom line is… a little noise, a few kids laughing and enjoying life, brings back life in to a town that is litterally dead and absolutely boring for 9 months of the year. goes in to the ground

  9. Mark

    March 13, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I think Les WW2 The War would like this town all to himself. Les must be a conservative. A government by the rich for the rich. Unfortunately, it is still the poor that do all the physical labor and support the country. It is after all the local working population ( which Les obviously doesn’t do ) that keeps this town afloat during the off season. Boats or no boats. The working people in this town are subjected to what I refer to as gouging by the very people they support in the winter. The working people, mostly on minimum wage are subjected to double the price during tourist season while they are trying to save up to pay bills and put food on their table through the winter months. Personally I like big boats. I’m thinking about getting a 24 foot cabin cruiser as we speak. I am also thinking about opening a french frie stand named Pierre Poutine so that the conservatives will feel more at home when they come here to visit.

  10. David Whitmore

    May 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I am now a senior citizen, and lament the change of Osoyoos Lake fro peaceful summer resort to motorized ‘Drag strip’.
    Fondly remembered are times I went to the lake in the morning to see it smooth as glass, and so quiet one could hear grasshoppers on the far side of the lake., ducks swimming peacefully nearby.
    Recent visits have seen it now rumbling from before dawn to late evening, with boaters flying everywhere, often dangerously close to shore. Overhead, the roar of ultralights cruising low, their engines chiming in with skidoos motorcycles, and what have you.
    And all summer long, a blue haze of gasoline hangs over the once peaceful Lake.
    A ban on ridiculously large engine boats will never restore the idyllic paradise Osoyoos Lake once was, but why make it worse ?

  11. Mike

    June 4, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Its funny how departed fromreality many folks really are. The avoidance of facts in order to support one’s subjective view is not how to have a constructive debate. Here are a few facts to help the conversation along:

    -there is no “blue haze” over the lake at anytime of year.

    -The number of operating road vehicles to boats is at least 100:1 on any given summer day

    -the number of boats on the water has decreased over the last 2 decades as many camp grounds have converted to owned rv pads occupied for but a fraction of the summer vs. Constant roll over of new RVers towing boats as it was in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s

    -the osoyoos economy is dependant on boaters. Period. Comparisons to smoking vs non-smoking dont hold water as the tourist population embracing boating is not a fringe of <10% of the target group

    – osoyoos council does not have the authority to dictate usage of the lake. It’s within the federal governments jurisdiction

    – much of the lake exists outside the town of osoyoos (in the united states to the south and rdos to the north and oib to the east) meaning its not an asset of the town or its citizens. Its a shared assett between several entities and interests

    -those most vocal against boating are also those that are contributing the least to this towns economic developement: retirees

  12. Shannon

    December 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I believe if we are seriously thinking about the health of the lake we should also ban all pesticide use on all orchards throughout Osoyoos. Where do you think the run off of chemicals goes?

    Osoyoos is going to be a great and thriving town…no boating and no orchards (due to lake contamination from pesticides). Oh wait! Lets get rid of the vineyards also as they spray chemicals also.

    Seriously, don’t say its for environmental reasons without eliminating all possible human contaminants into the lake. Otherwise you’re just picking on boating.

  13. ANDRE

    February 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    That is none sense, touristic attraction is a must with this economy.
    If certain persons don t like the noise of boat they should live away from the lake and the city, even better why they don’t buy their own lake and leave the rest of us alone.

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