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Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

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Summary of updates to shíshálh swiya dock management plan in response to feedback

The Province and shíshálh Nation are working together and engaging the public and local stakeholders to ensure that lands and resources are managed in ways that respect the values of shíshálh people, as well as the values shared by all residents in the shíshálh swiya. The shíshálh swiya dock management plan is a joint plan implemented by the Province and shíshálh Nation outlining how dock authorizations are managed. From Nov. 24, 2023, until Feb. 16, 2024, the Province and shíshálh Nation requested feedback from the public on a set of proposed amendments to the shíshálh swiya dock management plan.

The Province and shíshálh are now proposing further amendments based on that feedback as summarized below. 

  • For private dock owners in saltwater, the following will be put in place:
    • Owners of existing tenured docks and boathouses will be able to apply for renewal as currently built. 
    • Owners of existing untenured docks will be able to apply for tenure under flexible guidelines.
    • Owners of existing untenured boathouses will be able to apply for tenure as currently built.
    • For new private dock applicants, we propose to update the guidelines (known as Best Management Practices) to provide more flexibility.
    • In addition to added flexibility, we plan to make these specific enhancements:
      • A maximum dock length will be set at the provincial maximum – 60 metres – with a preference for a 50-metre length.
      • Docks can have a total area of 30 square metres or a maximum width of 1.5 metres.
      • New or replacement decking must use products that allow for a minimum 43% light penetration.
  • For private dock owners in freshwater:
    • The application of the dock management plan will be paused. During that time, further studies will be done and engagement will be undertaken to understand the impact of docks in the freshwater environment and to consider revisions to the plan. B.C. and shíshálh will communicate closely and often with freshwater dock owners throughout the swiya.
    • Existing tenured and untenured dock owners in freshwater will be given the same opportunities to apply for tenures that are available for saltwater docks.
    • No new docks tenures will be considered in freshwater until studies are complete.
    • Owners of existing untenured boathouses will be able to apply for tenure as currently built.
    • As per provincial policy, new boathouses will not be allowed in freshwater. 
  • For commercial dock owners:
    • We propose to update the best management practices to provide more flexibility, which will allow for a diversity of commercial operations.
    • We will not implement maximum length limitations for commercial docks. 
  • In addition to the above changes, it is important to note that:
    • As is always the case, provincial and federal policies about safety and navigation remain considerations in any dock decision.
    • Protection measures will be put in place for areas with cultural resources and critical habitats.
    • Over time, as dock owners make improvements to their docks, these will need to be in keeping with best management practices.
    • Consistent with provincial policy, new boathouses will not be allowed on private docks.
    • New boathouses are allowed on commercial moorages. 
    • Applicants for group moorage, strata moorage and institutional or community docks will apply for tenure following guidelines for commercial moorage with flexibility based on use.
    • The Province and shíshálh will work together to identify areas suitable for new additional mooring buoys to support continued boat travel through the swiya.
    • Dock owners will need to demonstrate consistency with the goals of the dock management plan. To support this effort, flexible guidelines will be used.
    • Decision making will be consistent with provincial legislation and existing agreements.