The Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. says the developers behind a controversial 389-unit seniors development proposed for Summerland have a lot of work to do before they sign off on the project.
Earlier this month, the Lark Group informed the District of Summerland it would be pursuing a deep-water intake in Okanagan Lake to act as the required contingency water source for the local hatchery.
The hatchery has long voiced concerns about the potential adverse impacts the nearby project could have on its water source, Shaughnessy Springs, during and after construction.
While laboratory tests conducted conducted last month came back well within Ministry of Environment guidelines for aquatic life, the FFSBC says the tests have several blind spots.
“The information provided does not show water temperature profiles,” Hatchery manager Kyle Girgan wrote in a letter to the District of Summerland.
“The temperature of water originating from Shaughnessy Springs is quite stable and varies by approximately five degrees Celsius year-round, from about nine to 13 degrees Celsius.”
Girgan also points out that Okanagan Lake is full of microbial pathogens, which do not occur in the groundwater from Shaughnessy Springs.
“One known example of a pathogen occurring in Okanagan Lake is the Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHNV), which has been detected in B.C. trout and salmon,” Girgan states. “Both species of fish are found in Okanagan Lake and, since we do not stock Okanagan Lake, these wild lake fish are not routinely screened for disease as our hatchery fish are.”
Girgan’s letter calls the developers plans to use lake water as the required contingency source “very conceptual” and in need of a considerable amount of additional study, spanning multiple seasons to account for natural variations of the lake.
He also asked for details on the infrastructure the developer is proposing to deliver the lake water to the hatchery to insure it is compatible with its existing systems.
“I would also like to reiterate that any infrastructure requirements for the deep-water intake option must be in place prior to the start of construction,” Girgan ends his letter.
The hatchery and developer have been communicating with each other through the District of Summerland since April, when the hatchery walked away from the development process in frustration.
A recent financial analysis of the development conducted by the District of Summerland estimates the development would generate $436,000 in property tax and utilities revenue for the district.
For context, a one per cent property tax increase would generate an extra $75,400 in revenue for the district.
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