Morden City Council passed a resolution on Monday banning the use of any gas-powered watercraft on Lake Minnewasta.
Mayor Brandon Burley said this was a long time coming.
"There are, obviously, a number of factors that came into play in this decision, and I think formally the first step is actually taken before my time in 2016 was an extremely comprehensive report done by Tetra Tech (an engineering firm) with respect to environmental engineering concerns around Lake Minnewasta and their strong recommendation was that gas-powered motorboats needed to be excluded from the lake, not only for habitat concerns but also because it is our primary source of drinking water."
Burley said Morden's growing population and increased horsepower of boat engines creating safety concerns are just two reasons for the decision. The main reason, he noted, is the environmental impact of gas leakage and thrust in the lake.
"There are concerns as well including boating safety, and over the last couple years we've limited and tried to implement routes on the lake for voters to take, and there are a large number of boaters who just have not been operating safely. We have like this size and the speed of boats that are available today. There just is no common-sense way to continue to use it with the types of aggressive boating behaviours we've witnessed over the last couple years, coupled with this year's volume of boaters."
Campground Manager Brian Thiessen explained trolling motors will be allowed on the lake (see guidelines below), canoes and non-gas-powered kayaks are also still allowed.
"We also understand that not everybody's boats will be able to remove the gas motor, some are inboards, some are too big to remove. So, to help with that, we are asking people to remove the props of any gas motors or gas engines they have on their boats prior to coming to the lake. It's something that we will be checking upon arrival at the lake."
Thiessen noted the season opens on Friday and there will be some new procedures in place boaters need to be aware of to protect the lake from a safety standpoint, from invasive species and to keep track of boats coming in and out of the lake.
"One new thing that we'll also be doing is getting people to come and register their boat at the campground office. There's a small form to fill out. We'll take some information and then you get your pass and away you go."
Burley concluded, "Looking at the recreational trade-off of safety and environmental factors in our drinking water, as opposed to the recreational value of gas-powered motorboats, Council just didn't see the tradeoff being worthwhile," mentioning feedback was collected from all departments from the Water Treatment staff to the Fire And Police Chiefs, as well as the Community Services Director, with all the evidence, including the study from 2016, pointing towards this being the best decision for Lake Minnewasta.
(Submitted information from Lake Minnewasta Campground Director Brian Thiessen.)
A trolling motor is a small electric motor, located on the bow or stern (sometimes both), that’s used for moving a fishing boat through the water quietly, to avoid spooking the fish.
Trolling motors are available in 12-volt, 12/24-volt, 24-volt, and 36-volt configurations. More voltage means a larger electric motor, which translates into more usable power at the propeller.
Unlike an outboard engine, a trolling motor’s power output is measured in pounds of thrust, rather than horsepower. The higher the pounds of thrust, the more powerful the trolling motor is.
Therefore, a 36-volt trolling motor that’s rated at 100 pounds of thrust is a lot stronger than a 12-volt trolling motor with 40 pounds of thrust.
Boats with Gas Motors and Trolling Motors
For the sake of adhering to the new resolution for the City of Morden, boats that have gas motors either mounted or are inboard (internal), MUST remove the props prior to arrival at the lake.
All powered watercraft are to register their craft with the Campground Office.