Access to Williams Lake’s waterfront is limited at best, and is about to get worse.
On Tuesday, city council passed a motion to have no parking signs erected on both sides of Dutch Point Road in between South Lakeside Drive and the lake.
Many people utilize the road to access the lake in the summer for boating and in the winter with snow machines and motorcycles, city staff noted in a report to council.
The issue of the road was brought to the city by three residents who live on Dutch Point Road.
Coun. Surinderpal Rathor said residents have told him when people park their vehicles on the road, they cannot get to their homes, adding emergency vehicles would not be able to get in either.
The nearest road where people can park are on sections along South Lakeside Drive, he said.
There are really only two developed public access points to the lake — at Scout Island and Dutch Point Road.
Concerned about removing one of them, Coun. Geoff Bourdon said instead of closing an access the city should be looking to improve access.
Coun. Ivan Bonnell agreed saying lake access is of prime importance, while Coun. Sue Zacharias suggested the solution is to extend the hours that Scout Island is open to the public.
“We have this wonderful boat launch and access there,” Zacharias said. “There is absolutely no reason Scout Island should be closed and have the limited hours it has.”
There is some possibility that Dutch Point Road could be widened in the future and provide for some parking, but the road would have to be transferred to the city and that could take months, general manager of operations Geoff Goodall said.
Presently the road is on CN Rail property and the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and in fact the city will need approval from CN Rail to erect the no-parking signs.