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LETTER: Waterfront owners should be given fair notice of new regulations

From reader Cheryl Graham

Re: Kootenay Lake planners recommend 30-metre lakeshore setback, Feb. 28

We understand there is wisdom in trying to establish guidelines for what is or isn’t appropriate for a given section of shoreline. However, the shoreline around Kootenay Lake is so diverse, it seems almost impossible to try and legislate such a large fixed area of SPEA over all of it, which is what is being proposed by the RDCK planners.

Some properties on Kootenay Lake are solid rock into the lake and possess none of the elements of a riparian area. We also question the loss of riparian area the RDCK claims in their report, as to whether the cause is from development or more likely from the water level fluctuations controlled by the area dams, which affect every single inch of the shoreline on Kootenay Lake and seemed to be completely overlooked in their report.

The RDCK already requires an environmental assessment by a qualified environmental professional to support any development application on waterfront properties to ensure the environment is protected. Years of work went into the development of the Kootenay Lake Shoreline Guidance Document so that government officials have the information they need to adjudicate development applications.

Some waterfront properties will be completely undevelopable under these new proposed rules, while others who developed before the new regulations will likely see higher benefits and other property owners getting caught in the middle. People purchased their properties based on the regulations at the time, some paying higher taxes for decades only to see their visions for their future thwarted.

The RDCK has done an enormous amount of work identifying individual affected waterfront properties which are summarized in the tables in their report by area. The Kootenay Lake Waterfront Property Owner’s Society has formally requested that the RDCK write to all individual waterfront owners as they have all of the addresses on file, we have yet to hear back. In all fairness, waterfront property owners should be given fair notice in advance and an opportunity for discussion, not just find out later when they try to submit a permit for development only to find it declined under new regulations.

Cheryl Graham

President

Kootenay Lake Waterfront Property Owner’s Society

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