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RDCK moves to make Five and Six Mile Beaches Parks

Suzy Hamilton
By Suzy Hamilton
February 21st, 2014

After two years of  an  unsolved neighbourhood conflict over a popular public beach at Five Mile on Kootenay Lake, the Regional District of Central Kootenay will apply to make the beach a regional park below the high water mark.

If successful, two marine parks will be created at both  the Five Mile and Lower Six Mile beaches.

“That is such great news,” said Five mile resident Marg Newell. “I am just overjoyed.”

The conflict at Five Mile came to a head when Calgary resident Jane Andreychuk made an application to build a dock for the couple’s summer home adjacent to the  public beach in 2012.

The dock would bisect the sandbar where hundreds of residents have taken their kids to swim.

Andreychuk withdrew the first application about a year ago after a public outcry, but reapplied for a new dock design and barge-like device last fall that would compromise the popular sand bar.

This new plan also drew a round of complaints.

“We definitely don’t want to see the area curtailed,” said Area F Director Ron MIckel who spearheaded the park proposal.

“That is a very popular area and has been used for years. We need to be much more careful on how that area is being used.”

According to Mickel, the Ministry of Highways controls the access to the beaches. “They seem to be onside with this. I’m not sure if the access will be transferred or leased, but we will have the right to maintain the access.

“The (Five Mile) owners would have to work with us.”

Anticipating possible future conflicts at another popular beach off Lower Six Mile, the RDCK will also apply to have this beach designated parkland.

“This wasn’t a priority from previous directors, and we kind of fell behind,” said Mickel. “Now we’re playing catch-up.”

Mickel said there are other beaches along the north shore that may be considered, but money has been definitely been set aside for the Five and Six Mile beaches.

“This was one of the reasons I ran (for office),” Mickel said. “There was not enough being done to protect these areas.”

Mickel estimates that it will take about a year to complete the process.

Currently there are no toilet facilities or picnic tables at the beaches.

“I can understand the problems with the neighbours,” Mickel said.

He would like to see facilities installed, but staff will be working on the details as well as notifying Front Counter BC of the RDCK’s intentions.

According to the provincial government website, the Andreychuk’s application for the dock is still pending.

The Nelson attempted to contact Jane Andreychuk for comment.

However, Andreychuk did not return a call before the story was published.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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