A local fisherman wants the RDN to allow boats with electric motors on Spider Lake, but that isn’t likely.
Joe Dennie spoke at the Regional District of Nanaimo’s (RDN) board meeting on Tuesday, also asking them to deal with the “dangerous boat ramp access” and traffic issues around it, which he called a “ticking time bomb. I expect to end up with someone, maybe even a child, killed.”
While he started with the boat ramp, he said his purpose for addressing the board was “to speak to the restriction of motors on Spider Lake, and the difficulty of accessing information on the process that may have been fast tracked with little or no regard for the legal requirements of Transport Canada.”
He expressed frustration with getting the original documents that led to the ban on the lake near Qualicum Beach, which includes a provincial park.
He said that while he doesn’t have a problem banning large noisy gas-powered motors, that shouldn’t apply to quiet electric motors, which he said are allowed on 34 other lakes on Vancouver Island and can help seniors and people with mobility issues get out on the water.
He said there was no public consultation when the ban was imposed and nobody’s even sure when it happened, suggesting posted signs might not be official.
Spider Lake Community Association representative Andrew Stimpson countered with three main reasons to maintain the ban.
He said the tiny, fragile lake wouldn’t stand up to the environmental pressures of motorized, and likely more, boats a change would bring, that it would create a safety issue in the unsupervised lake and boat ramp, and that it would ruin the current balance of quiet uses by picnicking families and people in canoes and kayaks.
He said the lake doesn’t have any outflow and feeds the aquifer that most local residents get their water from, making it extra important to protect.
He said there are many larger lakes nearby that are better suited for motorized boats.
While the speakers and a number of people in the audience left after the presentations, Spider Lake was addressed at the end of the meeting.
Without any followup on the agenda, RDN Area F director Julian Fell asked about Dennie’s questions: “don’t you think we should sort of solve that?”
“We have solved it,” said RDN chair Bill Veenhof. “The originating paperwork that caused it is hard to find, but it’s very clear the Ministry of Transport has documents that show that no motors are permitted and that it originated with the RDN.”
“At the end of the day it’s up to the board,” but, as director of Area H, which includes Spider Lake, Veenhof said, “I’m very happy with the status quo, the way things are.”
Geoff Garbut, RDN manager of strategic and community development added that there wasn’t any consultation when the restriction was imposed in 1975 “because it was not required under legislation at the time.”