Both the Regional District of East Kootenay and the Village of Canal Flats are seeking public input, as work will soon get underway on the new Columbia Lake Management Plan process.
The RDEK said the plan will replace the existing 1997 Columbia Lake Management Strategy and guide local governments’ decisions regarding Columbia Lake and its shores.
“Columbia Lake is home to many significant ecological, cultural and recreational values and this planning process will provide us with tools to help ensure local government decisions continue to protect those values into the future,” said Susan Clovechok, Director of RDEK Electoral Area F.
The RDEK said that it will lead the project in partnership with the Village of Canal Flats, as the lake is within both jurisdictions. It added that the joint effort on the Columbia Lake Management Plan represents a united vision for the future of the lake while recognizing of both government bodies.
“Canal Flats is committed to having a strong voice at the table as we recognize decisions being made in and around our community strongly affect our constituents and future possibility of growth and wellness,” said Canal Flats Mayor Karl Sterzer. “Working together throughout the planning process will ensure we have strong communication and coordination and a collaborative voice. Additionally, having a multi-jurisdictional plan will allow us to have consistency in our decision making.”
Several public engagement sessions will be held over the coming months to gather opinions on the project. Engagement sessions will be held online and, once it is safe to do so, in person as well. The planning phase is expected to take between eight to 12 months to complete, and residents wishing to provide input can fund the project page online.
“Community involvement is key to a successful planning project. I encourage everyone in the Columbia Lake area to participate in the public engagement opportunities so this plan reflects the community’s visions and values,” said Clovechok.
The RDEK said a technical committee made up of representatives from federal, provincial, and Indigenous government bodies will help inform the creation of the plan.