Clearing outlet creek to reduce lake level not an option for this year

The flood gates won’t be opening anytime soon to reduce the water level on Sylvan Lake.

The flood gates won’t be opening anytime soon to reduce the water level on Sylvan Lake.

Members of Sylvan Lake Management Committee (SLMC) viewed the outlet creek last Friday with officials from Alberta Environment and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

The committee, which includes representatives from the eight municipalities around the lake has been working collaboratively to address the issue of high lake levels since last fall, said chairperson Beverly Anderson.

In March, members of the committee met with several cabinet ministers to discuss possible solutions. And since then they’ve been working with people from the provincial environment department.

Last Friday a group met at the outlet creek. “The present high water levels have broadened the drainage area at the mouth of Outlet Creek up to Highway 20,” said Anderson.

During the tour, the Fisheries representative indicated “that because this was a prime pike spawning area, they would not give permission to clear the vegetation or silt from that area but feel there are other options to consider further upstream.”

A request for decision which was on the agenda for Monday night’s Sylvan Lake council meeting was pulled because of the new information.

That request was to authorize SLMC to assume a management role, apply for a permit from the provincial government, determine costs and implement the work to clear vegetation and debris from the first 100 metres of the creek.

All costs would be confirmed and agreed upon by member councils prior to work commencing.

Alan Gassor, who attended the tour, told councillors it was very worthwhile to have a representative from DFO there since they hadn’t been involved in previous discussions. “He laid out the long list of requirements for clearing out the creek. That precluded the possibility of doing something that might be described as quick and dirty. The requirements are so extensive there’s no way to provide the information to DFO and get approval to do anything this year.”

Mayor Susan Samson asked, “so it’s safe to say there’s no short term solution?” Gassor replied, “There’s no short term solution.”

The committee is meeting next week to determine its next steps.

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