Sproat Fall Newsletter 2018

Sproat Fall Newsletter 2018


Published by Penny Cote – Sproat Lake Director – Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District


Sproat Lake and Great Central Lake Beach
Clean up, Sunday September 30th, 2018. WEATHER PERMITTING. Sproat Lake Community Association and volunteers from Great Central Lake are calling for VOLUNTEERS to help clean up targeted crown land beaches. More info next page.

Sproat Fall Newsletter

Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department (SLVFD)

Our community thanks the volunteers who responded to local and BC fires this year. Our Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department responded to wildfires along Highway 4; near the Taylor Arm Provincial Park; Turtle Lake and the Beaufort. The SLVFD recommends that clear driveway access is important for fire and rescue trucks to respond to emergencies! Keep your gutters clear of debris and your property clear of fuel sources in close proximity to the actual structure. See BC Homeowners FireSmart Manual www.bcwildfire.ca/ Clean your chimneys for the upcoming season. Be sure your address signs are visible from the road. For information on, or purchasing a reflective address sign, please contact SLVFD at 250-724-1777 and leave a message or send an email to officeadmin@sproatlakefire.ca 

Remember, if we can’t find you, we can’t help!! The Sproat Lake Firefighters Association is promoting WASP Gutter Mount Sprinklers and Brackets, a design to help protect a home or structure from wildfire. For more information, or to purchase contact: slfa@sproatlakefire.ca

On July 28th. 2018, the SLVFD hosted a successful Open House with 100+ visitors and conducted a door to door recruitment drive attracting 6 new members.  Summer 2018, the SLVFD contract was awarded for a new fire truck arriving spring 2019.  As well, the SLVFD is investigating the provision of a Fire Boat and Service for Sproat Lake.

Sproat Fall Newsletter

Defibrillator (AED) and Volunteers save life:

Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED) and Volunteers, at the Sproat Lake Community Hall, save a local resident life. The BC Ambulance awarded Dave Ness with the “Vital Links” Award.  Plus, Elaine Jones; Linda & John Bowers; Bob & Jan Cole; and Tom & Marilyn Oldfield received “good Samaritan Awards,” for their actions in saving a life at the SL Community Hall, using the AED.  Training is offered again this winter by SLVFD Deputy Fire Chief, Rick Geddes.  It is one of the most critical resuscitation programs for someone who suffers a cardiac arrest, which is supported by evidence provided by the BC Ambulance Service.  Survival rates increase dramatically, for up to 5 times, since before the AED program was in place.   An AED is available at the Sproat Lake Community Hall for public use. If you are interested in taking the training this fall, please call Penny Cote 250-724-5040 or coteart@shaw.ca

2018 Local Government Elections for Sproat Lake Electoral Area Director:

Election day is October 20th. 2018, between 8 am. and 8 pm. Voting location is to be announced. October 1st. 2018 mail ballots issued. Special voting opportunity is on October 11th.  Advance voting is October 16th. at the Regional District Office, 3008 Fifth Avenue, Port Alberni, BC. 8 am. – 8 pm. For more information, see the ACRD website or call Wendy Thomson at 250-720-2706 or email: wthomson@acrd.bc.ca


Annual “Clean Beaches, Clean Water”

Sproat Lake Beach and Great Central Lake
Clean up, Sunday September 30th, 2018. WEATHER PERMITTING. Sproat Lake Community Association and volunteers from Great Central Lake are calling for VOLUNTEERS to help clean up targeted crown land beaches.

Location: Sproat Lake will clean up along Stirling Arm; Two Rivers Arm; Taylor Arm; and crown land shores. Please remember to bring your work/rubber gloves, shovels or rakes, and appropriate clothing and shoes. SLCA will provide Garbage bags, Maps, Water and BBQ Lunch.  Lake clean up starts at 9 am., to meet up with the Pile Driver on Sproat Lake.  It will head down Two Rivers Arm to assist and transfer the garbage to trucks, for transport to the AV Landfill and Recycling Depot.  Volunteers who need boat transportation please call Penny 250 724-5040 for more information.

Great Central Lake volunteers will clean beaches in the morning, and meet at the Great Central Lake Resort.  From there the garbage is transferred to the landfill.  The day will end with an offer for a volunteer BBQ lunch. For more info call Ryan 250-927-4623 or email: tbchold@telus.net

SLCA Group Water Test results:

The test results for E.Coli and Total Coliforms, Monday, June 25th, 2018 group testing, found, from 41 tests; three positive tests for E.Coli and 25 tests clean of all bacteria. In the spring and summer residents experienced abnormal smells of metallic or fish odour and taste, resulting in the SLCA Directors authorizing three raw water samples from residences on Stirling Arm Drive, Faber Road and Taylor Arm Drive. The tests results for all three samples were >200 total Coliforms. These tests are a snap shot of the water at the time of the test. Through investigation, with Alberni Valley Health Officer and Ministry of Environment  it was determined that the results of the water samples were from a deep lake algae bloom. It reports that Sproat Lake residents should not concern themselves about the total coliform results received from your group testing. If, in particular, the testing is done during the height of the chrysophyte bloom, this is the expected result.

An Algae Bloom

In mid-June, an Algae Bloom was reported to Vancouver Island Health, by the Capital Regional District and to the Ministry of Environment (ENV). Similar to Sproat Lake it determines that the algae present is chrysophytes, also called golden algae. Some additional information about chrysophytes you may not be aware of is that they are generally found in low nutrient or oligotrophic, freshwater systems, and usually signal relatively clean water. Chrysophytes are not considered a public health threat, but they can be a nuisance species.

As they decay they can produce a metallic or fish oil taste and smell in the water, which becomes more pronounced for bigger blooms. Usually filtering removes the smells and odours from the water. Either way the water is generally considered safe for drinking and for household use, though potentially unpleasant. If residents are finding the water unusable, I suggest they find alternate water sources until the bloom clears the system. Given that these blooms occur naturally and do not pose either an environmental nor a public health threat, it is unlikely that either ENV or the Ministry of Health will take any further action on this issue. Included is a link to a Fact Sheet on Chrysophytes, which was developed by the North Carolina Division of Water Resources for more information. While based in North Carolina, the information is transferable to BC: https://files.nc.gov

Ministry of Environment (EMV)

To test Sproat Lake water as part of the British Columbia Lake Stewardship Society (BCLSS) monitoring program. Sproat Lake is actively testing level 1 for temperature and clarity is now bumped up to level 3. Testing the water at 3 determined test site monthly for the next 3 years.  Community volunteers will collect water samples and include them for additional parameters, as well as a site profile (temperature and dissolved oxygen measurements down through the water column). ENV will provide all bottles and equipment and field measurements (site profile) as well as training. In addition, ENV will pay for all lab analysis and staff who compile all the data and work with BCLSS to report.


Roger’s Cell Tower

Coming this fall, Cell Tower development, along Faber Road on Island Timberlands property, is scheduled to Provide cellular service to many Sproat Lake areas.  The site development started this spring, but is now on hold due to this summer’s fire hazards. This new service opens up new economic opportunities, for our residents.  It also brings a new level of much needed communications to our emergency crews and safety net for the public.

Flood control measures for Sproat Lake

Announcement from Catalyst Paper:

“Now that rains have arrived, Catalyst Paper will remove the two “plates” on our weir, at the outlet of Sproat Lake. The plan is to do this by Sept. 14th. or the week of Sept. 17th., prior to the lake rising further. Catalyst Paper has a low level fixed weir at the outlet of Sproat Lake as part of its water license. During flood conditions the lake level is about 10 feet above the top of the weir, and the weir has no significant effect on the river flow or lake level. The concrete weir has 3 slots, each about 2 feet wide. Currently 1 slot is completely covered with a steel plate, and 1 slot has a 1⁄2 height plate. The third slot is open. We plan to remove the remaining 2 steel plates from the weir slots, similar to what was routinely done prior to 2004. It is estimated that this will increase the river discharge flow by approximately 2.5 cubic metres/second (cms) (or a 1% increase relative to the peak flows).

Removal of Plates:

Plate removal allows the lake level to draw down a bit faster, prior to the onset of heavy rains (estimated incremental change to 0.5 feet of lake level in one month). In November 2017, Catalyst Paper removed 1 of the plates at the Sproat River weir. The measured Sproat River flow at the government gauging station increased by about 1.5 cubic metres/second (cms). At peak flow conditions in late November 2017, the measured river flow was 225 cms. The plate removal represented less than 1% increase in the river flow. The Catalyst Paper gauge on the Somass River shows no measurable change in the Somass River flow when the 1 plate was removed Nov. 6th. 2017. “Contact me if you have any questions or concerns.” Larry Cross, Catalyst Paper, Port Alberni Division.

Invasive Species:

Invasive Species is an increasing problem in the community. In consultation with the Ministry of Environment some actions to attempt to capture Carp,  ended with little success. Recent requests by residents, to investigate the increase of lake weeds and removal is ongoing. If you identify an area at Sproat Lake with potential invasive species of plants or animals, please direct inquiries or sightings to your regional committee; Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast – Coastal Invasive Species by phone at 250-857-2472 or by email at info@coastalisc.com or visit the website atwww.coastalisc.com 


ACRD Woodstove Exchange Program:

The Woodstove Exchange program is open to the residents until December 1st, 2018.  It is time to exchange your old uncertified woodstove (pre-1994), for a new CSA-EPA emissions-certified wood, pellet, or gas-heating appliance.  Save $400 for smart burning, and cleaner living! Receive a $250 rebate and a $150 retailer discount at participating retailers. This offer applies to residents of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District. Rebates are available on a first- come first-serve basis. Further information and how to apply visit the www.acrd.bc.ca website.

Air Quality:

Avoid backyard burning!  Real time air quality information is found at www.bcairquality.ca . Contacts are Earle Plain, Air Quality Meteorologist, Ministry of Environment 250-751-3171 and Valerie Wilson, Vancouver Island Health Authority Communications 250-739-6303. Acceptable air quality is everyone’s right.

Lake Surface Zoning:

The Sproat Lake Community Association (SLCA) formed a Committee to review Lake Surface Zoning and by-laws, similar to Shuswap and Cowichan Lakes.  The reasons for the review,  include Safety issues and Water Quality Protection. The committee met with ACRD staff to discuss promoting and advertising the new Provincial Regulations. To disallow DUMPING of grey or black water into BC Lakes; policing boating; noise by-law control; vacation rentals; and non-compliance use of property. A future public open session will focus on this discussion and ask for community input and approval. For more information email joev12@shaw.ca

Trail Expansion:


This Spring, Bowerman Excavation received the award for the expansion development, to extend the Lakeshore and Faber road trails.  The schedule is to complete the project this fall, with credit to an ACRD gas tax grant.  Fire season temporarily shut down many projects including the trail development. Our local trail system is well utilized by the community residents and visitors. This summer the Weiner Creek pedestrian bridge was constructed by Ministry of Highways, next to the Sproat Lake Landing on Lakeshore Road. Continued new trail development is needed for safe pedestrian passage. Ministry of Highways is cleaning up the garbage and developing safety construction at the Highway 4 lookout this fall.

SLCA Road Committee:

Sproat Lake Community Association (SLCA) Road Committee toured the area with Ministry of Transportation on August 7th. 2018, to view unattended faulty road conditions in the area.  As of September 1st. 2018, a successful new contractor Mainroad is replacing Emcon.  An introduction, and a winter stakeholders meeting is to take place to discuss the plans for our area maintenance and service delivery.  The plan is to ask what services the area is getting for our tax dollars. The new contact number for maintenance with Mainroad Is 1-877-215-6006.

Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Traffic Safety Improvements Interruptions.

Emil Anderson Construction (EAC) Inc. has a contract, given by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to construct the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvements. Our initial tasks include clearing and grubbing of trees, along the highway, and relocation of overhead utilities. Shortly after, May 7th. 2018, the work began.  Starting in July, drilling and blasting activities commenced. The highway is open between 7 am. and 10 pm., but there may be single-lane, alternating traffic (SLAT), for extended periods.

Drivers should expect an additional 30 min of travel time, during SLAT operations, to get through the site during peak summer travel times. These delays should be much reduced outside of peak periods. Between 10 pm. and 7 am. expect road closures of up to 3 hours while we conduct our blasting operations, with short windows to clear traffic every few hours. For the detailed nightly road closure schedule, please see the attached table on the ACRD website that shows the Traffic Stoppage Windows we will adhere to.

Traffic Hotline:

A traffic advisory hotline, updated daily, provides details and up-to-date information, to help you plan your trip. The number is: 1-855-451-7152 and check for information posted on electronic message boards, at either ends of the project. The info will also be posted along the Hwy 4 corridor, between the west coast and Hwy 19, as well as on DriveBC.ca.  For your own safety, it is imperative to respect all construction signage and stay well clear of any heavy equipment. We apologize for any inconvenience this project imposes on you.  We hope you understand that we are working towards a safer highway for all of us. Further project information is available on the Ministry’s project website at: www.gov.bc.ca/highway4kennedyhill.  Any questions or concerns  can be directed via email at: dgourlay@eac.bc.ca, or by leaving a message on the traffic advisory hotline at 1-855-451-7152.

Litter on Our Community Shoreline:

Garbage violations continue to litter our community shoreline with abandoned wharves, and styrofoam.  So when replacing a wharf please ACT RESPONSIBLY!!!   It is illegal to dispose of old wharves on Crown land, and the Province may charge removal to the owner! Please dispose of old wharves in an environmentally safe and sensitive manner. Annual cleanup efforts alone are not enough to protect our water and environment. Report illegal Poachers and polluters by calling 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP), Cellular #7277 or report a violation on-line at the Ministry of Environment Conservation Officer Service.  Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) website.

If planning a trip on the lake or in the backcountry, use the “Pack It In, Pack It Out” rule.  Do keep our beaches and community clean!  It’s time to bring beach toys, chairs, etc. inside, before the high water’s come. Thank you to all the volunteers and residents that care and make this a wonderful community to live in.