RMOW seeks community input on the regulation of internal combustion vessels on Alta Lake

Publication Date: January 11, 2021

The RMOW is seeking public input regarding an application for a Vessel Operation Restriction Regulation (VORR) to regulate 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 (including lakes in Whistler) and recreational vessels in Canada. 

Should the application be submitted and approved, the regulation would only permit the use of human-powered and electric-powered vessels 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 environmental and safety hazards due to the increase of gas-powered recreation vessels on Alta Lake.  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 intent of exploring this regulation is to increase the safety our lake users and to preserve Alta Lake’s water quality and sensitive habitat,” said Mayor Jack Crompton.  “I encourage the community to share their input on this important conservation initiative.”

Lake users and stakeholders can provide their input on the proposed regulation by completing an anonymous survey at whistler.ca/vorr. The survey will be open from January 11 to March 1, 2021. Public input will determine if the community supports applying to Transport Canada to prohibit internal combustion vessels on Alta Lake.  The input provided will also inform a Question and Answer document to be updated weekly and posted at whistler.ca/vorr.

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

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. 

To complete the stakeholder survey and for more information regarding the VORR application process, visit whistler.ca/vorr.

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