Powerboating on Kalamalka and Wood lakes may fall under stricter regulations in the future to address water quality and environmental impact concerns. Image Credit: Contributed

Damage from powerboating

Recreation boating use of Kalamalka and Wood lakes focus of study.

There is no water treatment solution to dangerously high bacterial and chemical contaminants near water intake sites for Kalamalka and Wood lakes.

Lake Country council were told Tuesday of the need to focus on boating activity in the lakes and focus on implementing measures to reduce recreational water use impact.

“We’re not talking here about the need to ban boats from the lakes, but to better educate lake recreational users to minimize the environmental impact,” said Heather Larratt, a water quality expert who contributed to the environment impact study along with consultant Jason Schleppe.

Some of the options suggested in their study included boat wake sediment disturbance warning signage, creating no-wake zones and designated boat commuter corridors.

But the study was focused on water quality assessment and creating a detailed contour and sediment indexing of the two lakes, and not implementation of recreational use policies.

The key areas for powerboat overcrowding occur in the shallower north and south ends of Kalamalka Lake and along the north section of Wood Lake near the Oyama canal.

In those sensitive areas, the study detected sediment bacterial, hydrocarbon and metal contaminants that exceeded water quality guidelines.

Those contaminants were sourced both being released during sediment disruption and from chemical spills, most frequently occurring during boat refueling, cleaning or disposal of waste.

Schleppe spoke in favour of the need for the various municipal jurisdictions bordering on the two lakes to form a committee and implement joint strategies to address the environmental and water quality concerns cited in their study.

“When it comes to regulation you would be dealing with Transport Canada so I know you will have more power in approaching them if you speak as one multi-jurisdiction rather than each community taking their own positions,” Schleppe said.

Lake Country council approved a staff recommendation to pursue establishing an implementation committee to investigate the issue further and devise strategy recommendations.

Several councillors complemented Larratt and Schleppe on their study findings and the need to have a regional approach to recreational use initiatives for the two lakes.

“I think the other thing to consider as well are the private water intakes and how they might be affected,” said Coun. Penny Gambell.