A large crowd showed up for Tuesday’s Lake Country council meeting, looking for help in getting approval to dredge the Oyama canal.
The Oyama Canal for Management Society (OCMS) needs written comment from council in its application to the province.
“Key elements the district will consider in its response to the referral from the province are public safety, drinking water quality and environmental protection,” said Mayor James Baker. “The province can decide to approve regardless of our concerns, or they can address the concerns we have, and hopefully they will do that.”
Residents cited mostly safety issues for boaters navigating between Wood and Kalamalka Lakes.
Resident Stu Smith said that the canal has been dredged before.
“There was no damage to the intake (water) then, there was no environmental damage. The way we did it back then wasn’t as regulated, but it still worked and it worked for a good 15 years. The canal has been in bad shape for about the last three years.”
Smith added he hoped OCMS could gain council’s support.
“There’s a lot of people that would really appreciate that. We’re prepared to move and get it done and start fundraising. We need your help.”
Council also heard that businesses in the community are in support of the canal being dredged.
“We’re asking for the District of Lake Country to support us in regards to this,” added Tony Pallas, with the Lake Country Chamber of Commerce. “We’re here to make this happen.”
A spokesperson for the Lake Country Fire Department, Oyama Division noted safety concerns in the event of a water rescue.
“The problem we see with the canal is getting the rescue boat over to Kalamalka. There is other access for us but in times of dire need, getting through that channel in an expedited manner would be very beneficial to the community.”
The District will forward its comments to the province.