Along the north shore of Trout Creek, previous municipal councils agreed to allow housing along the lake only after council was offered a public trail and a 15-metre riparian area.
Rezoning was based on these two conditions. This was agreed by council because established riparian land would protect sensitive fish habitat.
But lakeshore landowners removed riparian vegetation along this foreshore. This caused erosion of the foreshore. Now municipal staff are recommending to council that the public trail be moved and the riparian land (called the “strip of land) be sold to the landowner.
In addition, this recommendation includes a wharf for each landowner. The lake at this site is very shallow, so dredging of the lake would be required.
Previous councils made the effort to protect fish habitat. The final result of this proposal will be no riparian vegetation and dredged fish habitat.
Local governments use the Official Community Plan as a guide. Policy 188.8.131.52 states, “implement riparian area measures to provide habitat protection for fish and wildlife.” The province has given local governments the power to protect riparian lands. Councils can adopt bylaws to protect and restore riparian vegetation. These bylaws can also be site-specific. But bylaws can not be applied if riparian lands are converted to private ownership.
David E. Gregory
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