The proposed location for the water intake zone on Kalamalka Lake. - Image Credit: Photo Contributed

The proposed location for the water intake zone on Kalamalka Lake. - Image Credit: Photo Contributed

Drinking water bylaw stopped in tracks

At a public hearing, a bylaw aimed at protecting the water intake in Kalamalka Lake was put on hold

A proposed bylaw aiming to protect public drinking water was put on hold after receiving public disapproval during a hearing in Lake Country.

More than 80 people packed into the municipal office Tuesday with many standing as they waited to voice their opinions.

The bylaw, if passed, would prevent owners in the southwest corner of Kalamalka Lake from building new docks while restricting boaters to 5 km/hr in the specified zone. The zone contains 32 properties in the proposed location, 19 of which have docks. The proposed bylaw would help prevent sediment from contaminating drinking water supplies.

While dock owners are able to maintain their old docks, residents expressed concern about being unable to build new ones.

“We can watch for speeding boats… and I think the no-wake zone is a far better tool for addressing boats,” said concerned resident Alan Gatzke.

Other concerns raised by members of the public included: discrimination against certain dock owners, finding alternative solutions, decreasing property values with properties being unable to build a dock and the lack of notice residents received.

Aquatic consultant Heather Larrett said most of the risks to water starts from the shorelines and the proposed bylaw is a step to addressing the issue of contamination from high-speed boats.

Some residents argued the water intake should be placed in a deeper location, but Larrett said it would only slightly address the problem of sediment being stirred by high-speed boats.

“If you don’t look after the watershed, it won’t look after you,” she said.

Moving the water intake deeper into the lake would only move it from a higher risk to a lower risk of contamination.

In 2012, in part of the water master plan, it was estimated that moving the intake from 20 to 30 metres of depth would cost around $1 million, said director of community services Mark Koch.

The zone was created to satisfy requirements made by Interior Health to protect the public’s drinking water supply.

The Agricultural Committee and regional district supported the bylaw.

Lake Country council decided to get more information on the issue before moving forward with a new bylaw.