On Friday, a group from the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club went out to Minnie and Stoney Lakes to put their boats in the water and do some fishing. The Club decided to take the trip after the official court ruling came down earlier in July.
Minnie and Stoney Lakes are at the center of the ongoing dispute, and the Club’s Spokesman Rick McGowan explained what they wanted to show and prove by heading up to the lakes.
“First of all, that there is public support, people don’t want to give up public lakes,” began McGowan. “We’re disputing some of the terminologies in the court order that says the only access to Minnie Lake will be through a trail that Douglas Lake staked way up on a mountain over which goes nowhere and is irrelevant when the original trail on the crown grant comes right here beside the lake. The court order says we can go by that trail and by the old public road that goes by the water.”
“We knew that they were going to oppose anybody putting a boat in here because they thought they were going to instill that you couldn’t do that anymore,`` he added. ``Possible reasons for that thought process is that the Government and Douglas Lake are talking about trading the original public road which is underwater for this road that isn’t underwater and therefore would block the public access to these lakes forever. So, we’re showing that we’re not prepared to accept that,” added McGowan.
The old access road to the lake has been partially submerged by water, however with a 4x4, the Club was able to still use it to launch their boats.
“It doesn’t appear there is any consequence for Douglas Lake to destroy the road, submerge the road, block it for 20 years. It’s kind of a bizarre process, but we’re trying to stop it, that’s what we’re trying to do, not sure if we’ll be successful but we’re trying,” said McGowan.
“They can run their resort, that’s perfectly legal. What’s not legal is for them to kick the public out and take control of the lake for themselves. It is a public lake and they can run their business however they want but not tell the public to stay out of the lakes,” said McGowan.
Q101 attempted to contact Douglas Lake for comment on the ongoing dispute but didn’t hear back.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt