Houseboater challenges West Kelowna's authority to control offshore anchorages

September 2010 News Adrian Nieoczym -

A houseboat owner running out of places to go is challenging the municipality of West Kelowna's authority to keep him away from its shores.

Keith Newcomb's vessel was among 13 houseboats evicted from Gellatly Bay on Okanagan Lake last month, after the province issued the municipality with a licence of occupation. But even though local bylaws forbid overnight mooring anywhere along West Kelowna's shores, Mr. Newcomb decided to drop anchor only a few kilometres away in front of a regional park.

"They have no jurisdiction out there," he said, arguing that West Kelowna's authority only applies to Gellatly Bay. "So there's a court battle that's going to be occurring shortly."

But as far as West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater is concerned, his municipality's boundaries were clearly set when it incorporated in December of 2007 and extend for approximately 18 kilometres along the shore and for about two kilometres into the middle of the lake.

"Our lawyer tells us there's a body of law that supports that position," he said, adding West Kelowna is going to court seeking an injunction allowing it to tow illegally moored houseboats.


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