Blue-green algae photographed at Elk/Beaver Lake in 2013. (Black Press File Photo)

CRD seeks government cash flow to clear the waters at Elk/Beaver Lake

Algae bloom temporarily under control at Elk/Beaver Lake

The Capital Regional District (CRD) has lifted the blue-green algae alert at Elk/Beaver Lake.

After collected water samples indicated that the cyanotoxins were too low to be detected, the CRD consulted Island Health and concluded that the algae bloom had ended. Beach-goers are still advised to be on the lookout for the tell-tale blue-green scum on the lake surface as it would indicate a new bloom. The CRD is also reminding park users that ingesting blue-green algae can cause headaches and stomach pain in humans, but can be lethal for dogs.

The algae alert being lifted doesn’t mean water quality issues are over. During a meeting Wednesday, the CRD parks and environment committee agreed to ask the federal and provincial governments and other interested parties for help improving water quality by covering at least half the costs of remediation.

READ ALSO: CRD hosts public forum to discuss water quality at Elk/Beaver Lake

Members were presented with a report regarding that recommends installing a $1.4 million aeration system to increase oxygen in the deep parts of the lake.

“If action is not taken to remediate Elk/Beaver Lake, declining water quality will lead to increasing cyanotoxin blooms that diminish the habitat value of the lake,” stated the report. “In extreme, but increasingly common cases throughout the world, cyanobacteria blooms have decimated fish and wildlife populations, sometimes overnight, and without warning.”

The report recommends installing a Side Stream Supersaturation aeration system to address the water quality issues and a watershed management plan to deal with the external sources of nutrients that flow into the lake. The initial $1.4 million cost would be followed by $100,000 per year for management. The report recommended seeking financial support from the provincial and the federal governments for funding as both governments are responsible for parts of the lake. The water and sediments in the lake are owned by the province and the federal government is responsible for everything on the surface of the water.

In the meeting, Saanich Coun. Colin Plant pointed out that requiring the governments to cover half the costs may prevent the work from getting done if grants aren’t acquired. He asked the committee to consider removing the 50 per cent capital funds requirement.

“I don’t want to give the sense that this is not going to happen if we don’t get the grants,” he said. Plant asked the committee to agree to send the message to the public that the CRD will move forward with the lake remediation because it’s necessary.

READ ALSO: No more scum at Elk Lake: CRD

Other board members opposed Plant’s motion as they felt that removing the 50 per cent requirement would remove the incentive for upper levels of government to contribute.

“To me, we need to be clear that we need the senior levels of government to come to the table with us on that, and that we’re prepared to fund 50 per cent if they’re prepared to help us,” said View Royal Mayor David Screech.

Langford Coun. Lanny Seaton pointed out that an aerator was implemented in Langford Lake and has been effective in managing algae blooms. He also noted that the fishing licence fees are being put towards the cost of the device until it is paid off. Seaton noted this could be an option at Elk/Beaver Laker but said that the upper levels of government should still contribute as they own the lake.

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt suggested revisiting the question of the CRD paying for the remediation alone if grants are not received.

The committee agreed to present the plan to the full CRD board for approval. If the plan is passed, the CRD would begin to seek external funding.

The next CRD board meeting is Sept. 11.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

Victoria seeks court order to enforce sheltering rules in Beacon Hill Park

People being asked to move out of environmentally sensitive areas of park

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

Police watchdog reviewing Victoria police-involved crash

VicPD officer collided with another car in downtown intersection

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

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

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read