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THIRD READING GIVEN TO ZONING AMENDMENT FOR MARINA
OSOYOOS TIMES-July 14, 2010
By Paul Everest – Osoyoos Times
Following a public hearing where roughly 20 people spoke up, Osoyoos council gave third reading to a zoning amendment that would allow for the development of a marina at the Lions Park lagoon.
Nearly 90 people gathered at the Sonora Community Centre on July 6 for the second public hearing on the matter, followed by a special meeting of council where the reading was given.
The Lions Park lagoon area is adjacent to the Lake Osoyoos Sailing Club and is zoned Parks and Recreation.
The zoning does not include marina operations as a permitted use in the area.
The zoning amendment, if adopted, would allow for a marina to be developed at the site.
At a special meeting on June 24, the amendment was updated to clarify where the amendment would apply — “the immediate area surrounding Lions Park lagoon” — and to provide a definition of a marina.
The definition is “the use of buildings, land or surface of the water for the sale and/or rental of water sports equipment, boats, docking berths, marine supplies and may include the sale of petroleum products.”
The marina concept, which has not been approved by council, would have the Town and the developers of the Watermark Beach Resort develop the facility together.
Preliminary designs for the marina include the development of 30 slips within the lagoon, two F-shaped docks each containing 52 slips extending roughly 75 metres out into the lake as well as parking and landscaping alterations to the area.
The idea of developing the marina at the site has raised some concerns within the community and prompted calls from the public for more information about the proposed project.
During the public hearing on July 6, which followed a public hearing held on the matter on May 17, nearly a dozen residents expressed concerns about the project or suggested alternatives to the proposed marina concept.
Five written submissions also brought up concerns regarding the project.
The concerns included the sale of fuel at the site, the effects the marina could have on the neighbouring sailing club, a lack of police patrols on the lake, erosion damage to the shoreline caused by fast-moving boats and parking limitations around the proposed marina site.
Some people suggested that the lagoon should be cleaned up and slips could be developed there without the F-docks.
One local realtor said the Town and the resort should concentrate on developing a marina in the lagoon for a year and, after that time has passed, assess the situation to see if a larger facility would work.
Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society President Mark McKenney said the society is now taking a “position of neutrality” on the concept but added that the F-docks should not extend 75 metres into the lake, as per Town regulations.
A Town of Osoyoos zoning bylaw states that docks shall not extend beyond 30 metres from the lake’s high water mark.
McKenney also offered to have the society “monitor” the marina project.
People in favour of the marina concept said there is a high need to provide more moorage facilities for the lake as well as a need to improve the boat launch near the marina site and clean up the lagoon.
Some said a marina would provide new jobs and business opportunities in town including opportunities for watercraft sales and storage.
It was also pointed out that if people could dock their boats at a marina, there would be less of a need to store boats on trailers which end up getting parked on the community’s streets.
Rob Rausch, owner of Wakepilot Wakeboarding, said the marina concept could allow for the centralization of watercraft-focused businesses.
With a centralized location for operations, he said, those businesses, along with the RCMP, could educate watercraft owners about how to operate their crafts safely and respectfully on the lake while monitoring fuelling and watercraft operations on the water.
Suggestions of having the marina located in front of the Watermark Beach Resort were also brought up.
A development permit issued to the resort in 2006, however, included a condition prohibiting the development of any moorage facilities on its property as the Town’s preference is to keep Gyro Beach open to swimming.
Councillors Marg Chadsey, CJ Rhodes and Ted Cronmiller voted in favour of giving the amendment third reading, while Coun. Michael Ryan and Mayor Stu Wells voted against the amendment.
Ryan once again tabled an amendment to have “the sale of petroleum products” removed from the definition of a marina included in the zoning amendment, but his motion was voted down 3-2 with Cronmiller, Rhodes and Chadsey voting against it.
Ryan then tabled a motion that any marina developed in the Lions Park lagoon area would be subject to a development permit process and if the project is phased, council would have to approve each phase.
This motion passed unanimously.
The zoning amendment allowing for a marina at the lagoon site is likely to come up for adoption at the next council meeting on July 19.