Keywords: Water Act – s. 9, definition of “changes in and about a stream”; fish habitat; siltation; dredging
The Appellant appealed the Engineer’s refusal to grant an approval for dredging an area in Sicamous Narrows, including portions of an area identified as critical habitat for juvenile salmon. The Appellant submitted that the local houseboat industry requires more moorage space to ensure that enough boats are available during the entire houseboat rental season.
The Board found that the Appellant presented insufficient evidence to show that the Narrows was becoming increasingly shallow because of siltation in the channel, or that houseboat mooring was being negatively affected by siltation. The Board further held that the Appellant had provided insufficient evidence to establish that the proposed dredging would not harm critical fish habitat.
The Board also held that the Appellant had not fully explored all alternatives to dredging prior to submitting its proposal. Lastly, the Board concluded that although it recognized the important economic interests of the business community of Sicamous, there was insufficient justification to negatively impact an important fish-rearing habitat, which also has important provincial economic ramifications. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.