TNRD asking boaters to stay off Nicola Lake

By on May 18, 2017
Highway 5A in the vicinity of Nicola Lake. VSA Highway Maintenance is asking motorists to watch for possible debris (logs) on the road due to lake wave action. (Photo courtesy of VSA Highway Maintenance).

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) is asking boaters to stay off Nicola Lake while water levels remain high.

With the lake currently full, large boat wakes can cause damage to the shoreline and surrounding properties, said TNRD Area M director Randy Murray.

“There’s just so many challenges [caused by] boat wakes hitting sandbags and eroding properties and taking down retaining walls,” Murray said. “Plus the debris in the lake right now can cause extreme damage to [the] boats.”

Murray said boaters should stay off the lake for at least the next week or two as the hot weather and rapid snowmelt is expected to impact the lake further.

Should people choose to take their motor boat out on the lake, however, they should lay off the throttle.

“It’s speed that causes the boat wakes — even really slow speed with some boats can cause a huge wake,” said Murray.

“Only go out there if it’s an emergency,” he said. “It’s not really a time to be out there for recreational use at all.”

The TNRD is currently having discussions with the provincial government regarding the possibility of instituting an official motor boating ban on the lake, which could enable the regional district to chain-off access in some parts, Murray said.

In the meantime, Murray is in the process of having signage erected on boat launches and access points that will remind boaters to stay off Nicola Lake.

“We’re hopeful that will carry some weight too,” said Murray.

While the water level in the lake remains high, Murray said he has not received any concerns from emergency agencies regarding the structural integrity of the Nicola Lake dam a this point.

“I think [residents] are basically worried because we’ve never seen this kind of pressure on [the dam] before, but it’s built to withstand it,” said Murray.

The dam is designed to handle three to four feet of water flowing over it, so if people see water flowing over the spillway, that doesn’t necessarily mean the dam is failing, said Jeptha Ball, a flood safety engineer with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.

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