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Whistler considering regulating gas engines on Alta Lake

Municipality seeking input on new federal regulation application
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The view of Whistler's Alta Lake from Rainbow Park. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is looking at regulating gas-powered engines on the lake. Photo by Megan Lalonde.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler is taking the first steps towards regulating internal-combustion vessels on Alta Lake, but first it wants to hear from the public.

The municipality is currently seeking input on an application for a Vessel Operation Restriction Regulation (VORR) from Transport Canada, which, if successful, would only permit human-powered or electric-powered vessels on Alta Lake.

A VORR is required as Alta Lake, like all bodies of water in Canada, is under the jurisdiction of Transport Canada.

The RCMP and Conservation Officer Service would be in charge of enforcement.

“The intent of exploring this regulation is to increase the safety of our lake users and to preserve Alta Lake’s water quality and sensitive habitat,” said Mayor Jack Crompton, in a release.

“I encourage the community to share their input on this important conservation initiative.”

Residents can share their thoughts via an anonymous survey until March 1 on the RMOW's website.

Should the community support the application, it will be submitted mid-2021, with an expected decision from Transport Canada in 2022.

Gas-powered recreation vessels have created environmental and safety hazards on Alta Lake, the RMOW said in the release, adding that notable concerns include improperly stored and maintained motors (which leak contaminants into the lake) and fuels being unsafely stored lakeshore, increasing the community’s vulnerability to wildfires.

Read more here.