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Five mile dock ignites firestorm

A proposed dock at five-mile beach on the North Shore has folks upset about what it means for a favourite recreational site. - Kirsten Hildebrand photo
A proposed dock at five-mile beach on the North Shore has folks upset about what it means for a favourite recreational site.
— image credit: Kirsten Hildebrand photo

After a proposed dock at Five Mile on the North Shore sent locals into an uproar about lost access to a popular beach, it appears the homeowners in question are making other plans.

Residents Jane and Mark Andreychuk applied to build private moorage spanning more than 50 meters that would bisect the beach and cut through shallow waters well used by families with young children. Because the beach is on crown land, the application was made public and opened up for comment.

Tuesday morning, Area F director Ron Mickel told the Star the Andreychucks — who live in Alberta and use their North Shore property as a vacation home — planned to resubmit amended plans for a dock.

“I don’t know how this will accommodate that sandbar. We will have to wait and see,” said Mickel. “We should hold off now until we see the new proposal.”

Once the homeowners submit their application to the province, they will have two weeks to advertise in local media which opens up the issue to 30 days of public comment — yet again.

Eva Myers-McKimm lives near Five Mile beach, also referred to as Willow Point that features a curved sandbar extending into Kootenay Lake. Within that curve exists a natural wading pool and swimming area for children making the beach popular with families.

Myers-McKimm’s family has lived in the area since the 1960s. Most people living near the beach are longstanding residents who’ve always had a “sense of stewardship about the beach,” she said.

She has also started up a Facebook page called Friends of Willow Point/5-Mile Beach to keep people up-to-date on what’s transpiring.

She would like to keep the issue about the beach rather than delve into concerns about absentee ownership of vacation properties. As comments have been made on a variety of social media, mudslinging has occurred.

“It’s not about who lives there or what they’re doing, it’s all about the foreshore,” said Myers-McKimm.

Whether there would be any location on the beach that a dock would work for both the homeowners and public beach users is hard to say.

“I don’t envy them at all. They’re between a rock and a hard place,” said Myers-McKimm.

Beach access is a hot issue with access to popular spots such as Willow Point and Six Mile being challenged. The RDCK is currently working toward addressing this concern the local government likens to the Pulpit Rock access problem. Mickel wants to see solutions so that these areas can continue to be used by the public.

He met with a group of concerned folks at the beach Saturday morning.

“This is a threat to a prime beach in the area,” Mickel said “After looking at it today, I can understand that for young families, this is one of the most important beaches in the area.”

Mickel has heard from many in opposition of the dock, more than 100 people, not everyone being local. One person emailed from Northern Manitoba.

“This beach means a lot to a lot of people,” he said.

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