Alta Lake Vessel Operation Restriction Regulation (VORR) Application

Latest status

The survey to provide input on the submission of a VORR application to Transport Canada is now closed.   The survey was live between January 11 and March 1, 2021.  Staff will now review and compile input provided by the public and develop a summary of feedback that will be posted on this page.


The RMOW is considering an application for a Vessel Operation Restriction Regulation (VORR) to prohibit the use of internal combustion vessels on Alta Lake.  

A VORR is obtained by submitting an application to Transport Canada, the federal agency that governs all bodies of water and recreational vessels in Canada, including municipal lakes. Should the application be submitted and approved, the regulation would only permit the use of human-powered and electric-powered motors on the lake.  Federal authorities such as the RCMP and the Conservation Officer Service would be responsible for monitoring and enforcement of the regulation. 

The decision to explore the federal regulation was prompted by the recent increase of gas-powered recreation crafts on Alta Lake and the related environmental and safety hazards.  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. 

The proposed regulation closely aligns with the RMOW’s Official Community Plan Goal 7.3: Water quality and quantity in local water bodies, streams and groundwater are protected and is part of the larger Lake Management Strategy, presented to Council in May 2020.

Should the community support an application for a VORR, an application will be submitted in Spring 2021, with an anticipated decision from Transport Canada in 2022.


  • January 11 to March 1, 2021: Community Input regarding the submission of a VORR application via online survey
  • Spring 2021: If community supported, submission of VORR application to Transport Canada
  • 2022: Anticipated decision from Transport Canada on VORR application

Community engagement

Lake users and stakeholders were given the opportunity to provide their input on the proposed regulation by completing a survey between January 11 and March 1, 2021Public input will determine if the community supports applying to Transport Canada to prohibit the use of internal combustion vessels on Alta Lake.  

Frequently asked questions

Yes, the Conservation Officer Service, RCMP and Emergency Services such as Whistler Fire Rescue or Whistler Search and Rescue would be exempt from the VORR.


We received additional clarification from Transport Canada regarding safety boats used by the Whistler Sailing Club: The safety boats for the sailing club are exempt when conducting “regular activities”- training, etc. However, the Whistler Sailing Club would require a permit if they were to doing an event like a race.

In addition, Transport Canada would recommend that the safety boats have a copy of this specific regulation on board to show any law-enforcement officer.

It should be noted that a person rescuing someone is exempt from the VORR as well.

See Section 3(2)(d):

Yes there is a speed limit restriction of 12km/hour on Alta Lake for power driven and electrical propulsion engines. 

There are VORRs on other lakes in Whistler including Alpha, Nita and Lost Lakes (no power driven vessels permitted) and Green Lake.  All lakes and rivers in BC prohibit a speed in excess of 10km/h within the shoreline and can be subject to different VORRs.

The VORR would be in effect once Transport Canada has approved the VORR. We anticipate approval in late 2021 or 2022. 

A person who operates a vessel shall take into account any circumstances that pose a danger to the vessel and to other vessels and avoid endangering the safety of persons involved in any activity in any waters.  Learn more

The RCMP, the Conservation Officer Service, Fishery Officers from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans , BC Park Rangers, Natural Resource Officers (Province of BC), the Coast Guard can all ensure compliance of the VORRs on Alta Lake and any other water bodies in Whistler.  If you have any concerns with a vessel on the water please contact the above enforcement agencies.  RMOW Bylaw Officers cannot enforce the regulations on Alta Lakes or any other water bodies in Whistler.   Learn more.

Transport Canada is the government authority that can add or amend the VORR (Lake regulations).  The RMOW or Whistler Lakes Conservation Association cannot add or amend the VORR (lake regulations) for Alta Lake. 

Additional Resources

Transport Canada’s Safe Boating & Regulations

Vessel Operation Restriction Regulation 


For general questions and to submit questions for the weekly Question & Answer series email: