What A Joke, But Nobody's Laughing!

Our recent fishing derby on OK Lk has led me back to the "rant" section of the site, and ya, you know exactly what its going to be about.  That idiotic thing they call a boat launch and "safe harbour" (photo)!  I have no idea who or what they were thinking when this so called "design" was implemented but I'd have to say some drug paraphernalia may have been left behind at the meeting place. 

What a crying shame with what they have done to our dear old boat launch (photo).  I have been trying to find out when it was originally built, mid '60's I'm guessing, but I do know we grew up with it as kids as did many other families in the area.   It was a spot we swam  when teenagers and a safe spot to take our own kids and even our grand kids down to.  Back in the OLD days when all I had was a 12' aluminum Springbok I used to rely on the harbour to do exactly what it is not doing now, protect me from the weather that OK Lk can throw up at you in a heart beat. 

Dave Ulvaan has been corresponding with Bruce Smith on this matter, Bruce's comments can be found on the Regional District website or even on Castanet.  I could drag this out forever as it appears to be a case of "we can't do that because the Ministry of Environment won't let us!".  What apparently is at stake is, shore spawning kokanee and pollution.  First of all, the Ministry does not want the treated wood going back into the water, supposed pollution.  Good god, its only been there 50 years now and I kinda doubt if its had any more impact on the lake than all the boat traffic the lake see's!  The kokanee, yes, I see the point of protecting their spawning areas BUT, had the boat launch been built the same way as it was taken out, there would have  been zero impact on any of the fish.  I'd think that after the launch being there for 50 years the fish would have pretty much figured out it was there and spawn elsewhere, duh!

As you can see (photo) in the pic, the present breakwater does absolutely nothing to keep waves from entering the "safe area" that it is supposed to be.  In fact, there is absolutely no deterrent to prevent the waves entering the breakwater area and beating the hell out of any boats that may be in there.  As well, with a stiff wind it makes it near impossible to even launch a boat, for fear of being blown right into the steel pilings that have been put in place.  That brings me to another thing, what the hell is this (photo) supposed to be, a diving platform for the next Olympics??  Lord jesus, even a giraffe would have problems getting anything off the top of it let alone a boater using it for..........anything!!  The only way it would ever be accessible by boaters is if the lake flooded and all the homes across the street were under water, who figures this stuff out!  Does anyone actually go down and look at what's being done or they all pencil pushers in some office and don't even know what a boat looks like!

They always say that constructive criticism is fine, but do you have any solutions to the problem?  As a matter of fact, I have a couple, go figure.  First of all, any kind of dock you put in has to serve the boater, whether it be high or low water, that's a given if you want a 100% useable dock.  This (photo) is what we have in Sicamous, a floating dock, which apparently the Ministry will not approve for OK Centre.  If it has something to do with the fish again, your out to lunch, as this is no different than in the channel at Sicamous where spawning fish go through all the time, by the thousands.  Not only will such a dock be useful and safe for boaters, the kids can have a blast fishing off of it as well, its a no brainer.

The next thing is that funky breakwater.  OK, you don't want treated wood back into the water, we get it, but there has to be something that not only breaks the wind (no, not break wind!) and also knocks the waves down.  I also have a solution for that.  Again, in Sicamous, they were having problems with the high water and erosion on the "sea wall" next to the boat launch.  The solution was this (photo), a wall made out of steel!  Now, why can't this kind of wall be attached to the pilings that are at OK Centre.  It can be put right below the water (a little iron in the water never hurts!) or, it can be put just above the water line when it is at full pool.  This wall (photo) would not only cut the wind down but also knock the big waves down that occur on the lake.  Also, extend the breakwater back out to where it was, make it a decent viewing/fishing platform for the taxpayer.

As you can see here (photo), with a proper breakwater wall in place you would alleviate the foreshore that is now exposed and deteriorating more everyday and, provide the lake with what is supposed to be a "safe harbour".    Off of the own Regional Districts website's is this description of the launch:  : "Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour provides safety for boaters during a storm with one of the only safe harbours in the area.  The harbour contains two docks for emergency and pedestrian use, a small swimming beach and boat launch."  Well, it ain't so now, is it!  There is no other "safe place" on the lake for miles, and boaters that use the lake on a regular basis have come to rely on the harbour as it used to be.  Safety should be foremost as it has been in the past, the fish will do just fine.

What am I going to do?  I am going to make the Minister of Environment, Terry Lake, aware of my concerns via mail and via email.  I am also going to send copies of this letter to Bruce Smith at the Regional District, to the Mayor of the District of Lake Country and also to the Oceola Fish and Game Club.  I encourage everyone, including those that don't use the launch for boating, to do the same and make your concerns known as well.  The following is a District meeting that was taped, regarding the "mess" at the launch - (Audio)

Here is some contact information so you too can voice your disgust with what has been done:

Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Environment

PO Box 9047 Stn Prov Govt
Rm 247, Parliament Buildings
Victoria BC
CANADA                   Email - ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca

Bruce Smith - Communication & Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator, Regional District of Central Okanagan          1450 KLO Rd., Kelowna, B.C.  V1W 3Z4   Email - info@cord.bc.ca  Phone 250-763-4918

James Baker , Mayor, District of Lake Country                                                                                                                            10150 Bottom Wood Lake Road
Lake Country, BC 
V4V 2M1
Email - baker@lakecountry.bc.ca

Jared Wilkison, President                                                                                                                                                                              Oceola Fish and Game Club