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Problem Okanagan Lake houseboat drifting out of bounds again

The large houseboat floating near the shores of Bear Creek Provincial Park drifted into unfriendly territory again, but with a nudge in the right direction, it could go back to its long-held spot on Okanagan Lake for a while at least.

The boat has been moored since 2004 on a buoy authorized by Transport Canada under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, while BC Parks authority under the Park Act is limited to 100 metres of foreshore. That means, when it drifts too close to the park, it’s officially trespassing on park territory.

“Wind and waves associated with recent southerly storms dragged the structure’s anchors closer to shore resulting in the structure entering the park boundary,” Ministry of Environment and Climate Change strategy representative said in an email, sent earlier this month.

Click to play video: 'RDCO taking steps to remove old float home beached on Okanagan Lake'

RDCO taking steps to remove old float home beached on Okanagan Lake

“This has happened in previous years, including in 2020 and 2022. Following the 2020 incident, a director’s order was issued requiring the structure be removed from the park boundary.”

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In April 2022, after entering the park’s 100 metres of foreshore, BC Parks developed a plan to remove the structure and planned to obtain written support for its plan from the structure’s owner, the ministry said in its statement.

However, the owner complied with the existing 2020 director’s order by voluntarily towing it out of BC Parks foreshore and beyond BC Parks jurisdiction before it could be removed by BC Parks.

“As the vessel is not technically abandoned and has a registered owner, BC Parks has made the owner aware of the current position within the park and is awaiting action from the owner to tow it away from the park boundary,” reads the statement.

The ministry stressed that the structure’s position, once it moved into the foreshore, did not  pose a risk to public safety and it was considering its next steps.

Those included communication with the owner of the houseboat about removal of the structure and the trespass issue.

BC Parks said it intended to coordinate with other jurisdictions at the local and national level, as well as other provincial agencies to determine the best options for reducing park trespass in the future.

The houseboat has long since been considered a nuisance, so much so that Regional District of the Central Okanagan director Charlie Hodge tried to introduce an order to have it removed from the lake as recently as last year.

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“It’s been there for years and years and years, the RDCO has been trying to get rid of it for a long time,” Hodge said in April of 2022.

It claimed the boat was not alone in becoming a nuisance.

There are a number of other float homes and seemingly abandoned boats that also pose risks to the environment, which they are prioritizing for removal from Okanagan Lake.

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