Lana Popham is the MLA for Saanich South.

MLA REPORT: CRD shores up remediation for Elk and Beaver lakes

MLA Report from Saanich South MLA Lana Popham

I’m pleased to report that progress is being made on remediation efforts for Elk Lake and Beaver Lake.

This is an issue that’s been close to my heart for quite some time – I wrote an opinion piece for the Saanich News close to a year ago highlighting the problems these two environmental treasures face.

Blooms of noxious cyanobacteria have become increasingly common over the past years, due to high level of phosphorous in the water. The resulting blue-green algae blooms can be poisonous to both dogs and swimmers.

Many of you may have noticed that the lakes have been regularly closed to the public because the health risk is too high. The health of fish in the lakes is also declining, and harmful aquatic weeds are spreading rapidly.

The deterioration of Elk and Beaver lakes is especially concerning given their importance in Saanich, and indeed, across the entire Capital Regional District. Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park is the most heavily-used park in the CRD with an astonishing 1.46 million visits in 2016. The lakes are also home to the National Rowing and National Triathlon teams, and are popular with recreational fishers and boaters as well. Walkers and runners (including myself!) frequent the trail that goes throughout the park, and the swimming beaches are so popular it can be hard to find a spot in summer.

One thing is clear: Elk and Beaver lakes need to be protected.

That’s why I’m pleased to see the CRD Regional Parks Committee is voting June 21 on two recommendations aiming to do exactly that.

The first recommendation is specific to Beaver Lake, and suggests purchasing an aeration system at a cost of around $40,000. This system would work to minimize algae growth, promote aquatic plants, discourage invasive species, and improve the recreational use of land. These are all desirable outcomes.

The second recommendation is specific to Elk Lake, and involves developing a business case for purchasing a high-efficiency, deep-water oxygenation system for Elk Lake. This system would be significantly more expensive – a one-time cost of $700,000 would be needed to purchase and install the equipment, and maintenance and operation costs over a 10-year period could average about $85,000 a year.

Although developing a business case (essentially a drawn-out cost/benefit analysis) means that Elk Lake will likely not receive a specialized system until at least the next fiscal year – which is disappointing – I am happy that the CRD is performing its due diligence to evaluate all options. This should ultimately minimize the cost of the project for taxpayers, as grants and external funding sources could be pursued. It is my hope, however, that progress will continue at a fast pace. Simply put, we don’t have time to lose.

I will continue to monitor this issue closely, and will provide more public updates as new information becomes available. Let’s work together on this issue to create a better Saanich, and a better British Columbia.

Lana Popham is the MLA for Saanich South.

Just Posted

Saanich council approves rural subdivision despite staff and public opposition

Critics say it will lead to urban sprawl, while supporters cite the need for housing

Victoria BC Transit driver taken to hospital after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

How a scrawny kid from Oak Bay bulked into one of rugby sevens’ best

Doing it for Dylan, Oak Bay’s Connor Braid at the top of his game

CRD’s 2019 financial plan includes 23 per cent increase for capital projects

Housing, health care and wastewater projects included in 2019 plan

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Most Read