Moyie residents hear about Narrows preservation options at a recent public meeting. RDEK photo.

Moyie residents hear about Narrows preservation options at a recent public meeting. RDEK photo.

Moyie residents hear Narrows preservation options

Large turnout from concerned citizens looking to preserve sensitive wetland habitat.

Over 150 people turned out to a recent public meeting in Moyie to learn more about the various options available to preserve the Narrows on Moyie Lake.

Hosted by the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), the meeting included presentations from Transport Canada, the Ministry of Forests Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“Through the early stages of the Moyie & Area Official Community Plan (OCP) process, the community has been very clear that the preservation of the Narrows is a high priority,” said Michele Bates, the RDEK’s lead planner on the project. “With the combination of private land, Crown land and the waterway itself, there are a number of different options and jurisdictions to consider.

“Our goal with the meeting was to bring all those parties together and provide the community with information on the available options.”

The issue came before the RDEK board earlier in May with a presentation from Mark Sheppard, a Moyie area resident who petitioned elected officials for restricting motorized vessels from entering the Moyie Narrows.

“Wetland habitat is critical in the face of climate change,” wrote Sheppard, in a letter to the RDEK. “The recognized sensitive ecology of the Moyie Narrows deserves immediate active protection to avoid further environmental degradation and to sustain the waterway/wetlands, it’s riparian area and wildlife.”

The public meeting was an opportunity to have concerned citizens in the same room to have a better understanding of what the tools are and who is responsible for overseeing the enforcement options, said Bates.

A report is currently being prepared with feedback presented from the meeting and there will be opportunities to provide additional feedback to the RDEK about what the path forward should be.

“There were no decisions made at the meeting as the entire purpose was about information sharing,” said Bates. “The next step will be for residents to provide us with their thoughts and opinions on the options presented.”

A summary will be posted to the RDEK website, along with comment forms, which will be accepted by the RDEK for feedback until early July.