LETTER: Respecting our Kootenay Lake waterfront lands

From reader John Alton

Re: Tightening Kootenay Lake shoreline regulations examined, Nov. 21

I was happy to read about the RDCK moving ahead on regulation to protect our lake and river riparian lands. The RDCK said the new regulations will help protect habitat for species, and certainly the Kokanee do need habitat protection.

I think private ownership has long been seen as “I own it, I can do whatever I want” by many people. However I believe in protective measures for not only waterfront but also forests, and we should consider recreation too.

Thankfully, the water’s edge is public land in Canada, unlike the U.S., so we can all go for a stroll along any waterway up to the high water mark. However I have seen barriers such as rock walls or signs that discourage public assess. This is also a class issue, I believe, as most waterfront is expensive so most of the public can not afford it.

Coincidentally, this morning I went for a walk with friends along the Taghum waterfront just west from the hall where there is a well-used trail. To my dismay, for the first time I saw “private property, no trespassing” signs. I was sad and frustrated because whoever bought this property recently must have seen the well-worn trails and realized that the public has been walking there for quite some time.

I wish the RDCK could buy it back and make a park from that beautiful historic property with old apples trees and wetlands. With all the birds that call it home, it could be a bird sanctuary. A recent example of this was the Slocan riverside property that a landowner donated to the RDCK to expand that wonderful regional park at Crescent Valley.

John Alton