Saturday, December 31, 2011

David and the machine

David and the machine.
Photo by Sylvia Currie
After thirty winters up here at the lake shoveling every snowflake that has drooped on to our driveway, I finally broke down a month ago and bought a snow blower. Kath and I wrestled it out of her car and carried it, disassembled, into the garage where it waited in anticipation for its first job. I examined the owner's manual to study the directions on how to upt the thing together. It talked about taking the clevis pin from the chute support bracket, raising the skid shoes higher on the auger housing and something about a carriage bolt. I was terrified. I rationalized shoveling the snow from the driveway as the snow blower still patiently waited, disassembled, in the garage, by telling my curious neighbours that I "wanted to ensure a good base of snow covering over the gravel before using the blower." (The only thing that had many any sense in the manual was a warning in dark print about the danger of ricochets from gravel being propelled at extreme force by the whirring auger.) When the second snowfall came and I shoveled it off, two of my neighbours came over, one at a time (I think they had been talking) and asked if I would like a hand putting the machine together. Too embarrassed, and too proud, I thanked them and used the excuse of needing to have a better base of snow on the gravel before using the machine.

Fortunately, our friend, Ted, arrived for a visit a day or two after the third heavy snowfall which I had again removed by hand, still trying to get a good base of snow. Sitting in the kitchen, sipping tea, I asked him "What is a carriage bolt?" He told me that it is a bolt that has a round shaft except for a square part just under the head. He told me that they used to be used to put the parts of a carriage together. I said "Oh." He said "Why do you ask?" I said "My new snow blower has one or more carriage bolts." He said "Oh." And then he said "Would you like a hand putting it together?" I said "That's a coincidence...I was just about to head out to put it together when you arrived." It took him ten minutes. I helped by holding the manual open at the right page. It hasn't snowed since.

Story by David Wyse

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2012 Polarthon

Time to form your teams and register for the 2012 Polarthon! This is an annual fun event suitable for teams of all ages and skill levels. All you need to do is skate, ski, and run... oh and crazy costumes are also encouraged.

View / download the brochure and entry form. Here's one in black and white if you don't want to waste printer ink. Register by mail, in person, or online and pay on the event day.

When: January 7, 2012 | 2pm
Where: Owen's Oval, Logan Lake Campground
What: Team -- 3 km skate, 2.5 km run, 4 km ski (any style), 2.5 km run

Visit the River City Racers blog for more information on the Polarthon and other skating events.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vixen and Dozer need homes

The Thompson Rivers University Animal Health Technology (AHT) folks are looking for a home for the pets they have been working with this semester. Click on photo for a larger view.

Vixen and Dozer

It would be great if these 2 dogs could find a home together for Christmas as they absolutely LOVE each other. They have been together since they were pups.

Dozer is a friendly 1 yr old Rottweiler/Shepherd cross. He is a very large, strong dog that will need a confident owner that can provide him with lots of daily exercise and continued obedience training. Dozer enjoys playing with other dogs as long as they let him be in charge; he can be reactive towards some males and small dogs. A home with older kids would be best for Dozer due to his size and energy level.

Vixen is an extremely affectionate Rottweiler/Shepherd cross that is 1 yr old. She is great with people and other dogs and really enjoys playtime with her K-9 friends. Vixen is very strong and will need a confident owner that can provide her with a consistent routine. She is a smart dog that likes to learn new things!

Cats too!
We also have 3 cats still looking for homes as well.

More information and contact details are on the TRU-AHT website.

From Sonia Walczak

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Letter to TNRD

PO Box 5044
Lac Le Jeune, BC
V1S 1Y8

Mr. Dan Wallace
Thompson-Nicola Regional District 
300 - 465 Victoria Street 
Kamloops,  B. C. V2C 2A9

December 11, 2011

Dear Mr. Wallace:

We are writing to you on behalf of the Lac Le Jeune Conservation Association. We are concerned about the potential impact that the proposed Lake Ridge housing development could have on the water quality at the lake. We are not necessarily concerned about the development per se, but we are concerned that further development could negatively impact the quality of the lake water unless stringent safeguards are identified and employed. Our concerns are outlined below.

1. According to the 2004 Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) publication "Lakeshore Development Guidelines", Lac Le Jeune has been classified as "Development Lake sub-class" with the notation in the document that there should be "No further development." This classification is based on the two criteria used by the TNRD, namely "perimeter development" and "user unit ratio".

For a lake the size of Lac Le Jeune, the allowable perimeter development is 35%. Even without the proposed development, Lac Le Jeune exceeds this guideline. Data supplied to us by the TNRD indicates that the shoreline perimeter of Lac Le Jeune is 10,000 meters and the current perimeter development is 3935.3 meters, or 39.5%. This already exceeds the guidelines by 12.4%. According to Gregg Lindros, the consultant for the developer, there are now eleven lots of the proposed development within 60 meters of the high water. While technically it is argued that these lakeshore lots do not add to the perimeter development because there is 60 meters of Crown Land between the property lines and the lake, it is interesting that there are a number of properties with homes more than 60 meters from the lake that are included in the perimeter development. Certainly, these perimeter guidelines will be further eroded if one other TNRD guideline for development is adhered to. This guideline states "non-waterfront residential subdivisions SHALL PROVIDE water access and communal boat moorage". Obviously, if this occurs, the perimeter development would be in excess of 40%.

2. The second criteria used by the TNRD for classification purposes is user unit ratio. The recommended user unit ratio is .67 hectares of lake surface per user unit. According to data supplied to us by the TNRD, the current user unit ratio at Lac Le Jeune is .47 hectares of lake surface per user unit. Even without the proposed development the user unit ratio exceeds TNRD guidelines by 30%. Again, based on data provided by the TNRD, an additional 49 lots (or user units) would drop the ratio to .41, a figure that exceeds the guidelines by 39%.

3. The TNRD Lakeshore Development Guidelines states, "when reclassifications are proposed, the proponent will be responsible for preparation of a lake impact assessment." In compliance with this requirement, the developer contracted with Lakeshore Environmental Ltd. to complete an environmental assessment of the proposed subdivision. This assessment was completed in 2008 and we were provided with a copy.

We have a few concerns with this document. After the assessment was completed, the scope of the proposed subdivision changed in subsequent planning. The environmental assessment completed in 2008 looked at the impact of an additional 32 lots. Since the assessment was completed, the proposed subdivision has grown to 49 lots, an increase of 53%. The author of the document dismisses the TNRD criteria of perimeter development and user unit ratio, even though they were established as criteria only four years before the completion of his report and states instead, that "a speed limit on boats be strongly enforced as these parameters have the greatest impact on maintaining a quality lake environment."

Included in this environmental assessment is a table showing "the number of species and cell/ml of phytoplankton in three samples, Lac Le Jeune." The samples were taken in 1992, 1993 and 1996. ) Unfortunately, the 2008 assessment contained no information of this type newer than 12 years earlier.) Also, unfortunately, the author makes no comment about the significance of the information in Table 1. Hugh Burton, a Lac Le Jeune resident and retired biology professor, looked at the document. His assessment of this data is that the level of cyanophyta (blue-green algae) is the best indicator of changes in the pollution levels in a lake (organic forms of nitrates and phosphates). Cyanophyta rose from 53 cells/ml in 1992 to 475 cells/ml in 1996. In the span of four years, the levels of Cyanophyta increased an alarming 896%! Another form of algae, Chlorococcales, increased from 43.4 cells/ml in 1992 to 241.7 cells/ml in 1996. Another alarming increase of 557%. While these levels may not have represented unacceptable levels of contamination in 1996, they were indicative of a significant and rapid shift in the aquatic ecosystem over a very short time span. This increase in indicator phytoplankton appears to have continued, given that in the past few years, heavy blooms of algae have been observed by local fishermen, a phenomenon never seen before in this lake. This is a further indication of the need for a more intensive biological based investigation of the lake ecology prior to any increased lakeside development.

4. Another concern that we have is the sheer volume of water that would be taken from the lake or the water table if the proposed development proceeds. Even if the 49 proposed lots only use 100 gallons of water per day, they will draw 1,788,500 gallons of water from the available supply. If the Ridgemount water system is expanded into the proposed development, the potential draw at 250 gallons per day per household amounts to 4,471,250 additional gallons of water taken from the supply. Can the lake sustain this kind of draw...can the water table? Who is responsible for monitoring water usage in this area?

5. Interior Health testing of water samples taken from the Lookout Road domestic water supply system in October, 1993 and September, 1999, prior to the installation of a filtration system also gives rise to concern. Chloride levels rose from 14.8 mg/L to 31 mg/L, an increase of over 100%. Sodium content also rose significantly, from 9.7 mg/L to 13.9 mg/L, an increase of 43%. Our hypothesis is that the increase is the result of road salt applied during the winter. We are concerned that a new road system created to service the new development will exacerbate this problem.

6. A number of us have already observed a change in the ecology of the lake. Lily pads have begun to emerge in areas where they have never been seen before, and, more importantly, Chironomid hatches have drastically declined. Some of us recall the disaster that befell Stump Lake and we do not want to see that occur here.

7. Gregg Lindros has indicated to us that an engineering firm will be hired to do an impact assessment of the proposed development on the lake. We look forward to seeing this report. However, we suggest that in addition to evaluating sustainable water supply and other engineering issues, this firm employ a limnologist to look into the water quality issues we have introduced above.

Our concern and our responsibility is to ensure the sustainability of the water of Lac Le Jeune for ourselves and future generations. We have seen headlines in the local newspaper in the past year describing the projected death of Okanagan Lake within the next fifty years, we see the decline of Nicola Lake and we read about the fragility of the Great Lakes. Our concerns are real and to support development without full confidence that we aren't causing harm is to do Lac Le Jeune and its future generation of users and enjoyers a huge disservice.

Sincerely yours,
  Members of the Lac Le Jeune Conservation Association Working Committee
  Bob Brown, Hugh Burton, Jim Phillips, and
  David Wyse (PO Box 5006, Lac Le Jeune, BC V1S 1Y8 )

Darren Bennett, Water Stewardship Officer, Ministry of the Environment 
Al Caverly, Regional Aquatic Ecologist, Ministry of the Environment 
Steve Miricle, Freshwater Fisheries, Ministry of the Environment
Duane Wells, Water Stewardship Officer, Ministry of the Environment 
Dean Watts, Senior Water Use Biologist, Dept of Fisheries and Ocean 
Ronaye H. Elliot, TNRD Representative, Electoral Area J
Rick Van Rijn, President, Lac Le Jeune Conservation Association 
Gregg Lindros, Lake Ridge Project

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Remembering Benji

I had a job that was my own
No other dog could be my clone!
They're all too small and scared of mice
Their bark too feeble, and way too nice

If it weren't for me out on the loose
Lookout would be full of Moose!
Those giant Lynx would have ruled the road
It's all because of me, I'm told

Good thing I always tagged along
In Miro's truck where I belonged
Gathering wood to keep us warmer still
And to supervise, well who else will?

At night my igloo was just a place
In Hana's room to give her space
But had I not been there all night
She would have lain awake with fright

No other mutt had such attire
Nor traveled the world just to acquire
In the finest woolens I wagged my tail
My coat collection is not for sale!

I would have stayed with them forever
And listened when they said I'm clever
But after 15 years of total bliss
Just one more day of work I'd miss

Lookout Road may have some trouble
No dog can help, not even my double!
But I'm watching now and all is fine
The credit, after all, is mine.

Benji Struss was, without a doubt, the biggest small dog at Lac Le Jeune. He had a great spirit, never tired, and was always full of adventure. He put smiles on our faces for 15 years. We will all miss him. xxxooo

Photos by Hana Struss
Poem by Sylvia Currie