The response from residents over possible boat restrictions on the Shuswap River was expected.
After all, people have invested significant dollars in their waterfront properties and entire lifestyles have been shaped by the river.
Even a hint of that changing will create anxiety and suspicion.
Officials at the Regional District of North Okanagan should have known there would be push-back.
However, RDNO politicians were right Thursday not to bow to a large crowd of boaters and completely walk away from the process.
The reality is that a survey indicates significant support for boating regulations and significant opposition to rules — virtually a dead-heat.
If the regional district did nothing, then those who favour some form of boat ban would be upset and the deep divisions within the community would fester. Nothing would be solved.
RDNO’s Electoral Area Advisory Committee is recommending that a consultant be hired to work with the community to consider options that may foster consensus over the river.
“The process will be separate from the regional district. Everyone will be consulted,” said Herman Halvorson, rural Enderby director.
Placing the process in third-party hands makes sense as some boaters clearly don’t trust the regional district’s process to date or its ability to move ahead objectively.
RDNO staff and directors are hard working and well intentioned, but perception can become reality and if this issue is to ever be resolved, they need to walk away.
–Vernon Morning Star