Q: What is the current status of the milfoil study?

An intensive workshop to discuss the application of biocontrols for the treatment of Eurasian Water Milfoil was held at the lake at the end of March, hosted by Grace McGregor and facilitated by Brenda LaCroix of the Stewardship Society. The biocontrol agent that has shown the most promise is commonly known as the milfoil weevil. This biocontrol has been applied with favourable results at a number of lakes in the US and in Ontario using technology developed by EnviroScience Inc., an American company.

The workshop featured presentations by EnviroScience Inc. reviewing their work over the past 15 years using the milfoil weevil and permit application activity in eastern Canada.

Following the presentations, discussion focused on developing an action plan for the application of the milfoil weevil to milfoil control at Christina Lake. This action plan includes the steps required to apply for and obtain a permit for this work, contacting district and municipal agencies in British Columbia where problematic infestations of Eurasian Water Milfoil are present in local lakes with a view to sharing information and study costs and developing a business plan under which EnviroScience Inc., would set up and staff a milfoil weevil rearing facility in British Columbia.

As of mid-April, an agreement has been reached between RDKB and EnviroScience Inc., under which EnviroScience Inc., will collect samples visually identified as milfoil weevil from Christina Lake and other lakes in the area. These samples will be forwarded for examination at a certified laboratory in Eastern Canada. This is a critical step in the permit application process. The sampling program is scheduled for July, 2012.

The timeline for this action plan is not established at this time, but the earliest that a test milfoil weevil study at Christina Lake might take place is the spring of 2013.

Q: Does the WPOS plan on taking a strong stand on key issues on behalf of its members?

A: The WPOS will take a strong stand on behalf of its members after seeking comprehensive input from CLWPOS members and after all options have been fully researched and explored. The WPOS board approach …

As property owners at Christina Lake, we are subject to acts and regulations at the Federal, Provincial and Regional District level.  The services we receive from these government agencies are paid for by taxation at the federal, provincial and regional district levels.  A number of volunteer organizations have evolved over the years to try and ensure the maximization of interests of property owners and other users of the lake.  At the present time, the Advisory Planning Commission (APC), the Christina Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS), the Lake Boat Access Society and more recently the Waterfront Property Owners Society (WPOS) represent these interests.  Government agencies have developed or are developing effective relationships with these volunteer groups.  From time to time, the focus, interests and priorities of these groups are in conflict.  Accordingly compromises are required.

In the view of the board of the WPOS, it is in everyone’s interest to attempt to provide, to the extent possible, a unified view of the priorities facing development and use of Christina Lake to protect its well-recognized unique qualities of high quality water, picturesque vistas and wildlife for recreational enjoyment both today and into the future. Such a unified approach is likely to prove most effective in realizing the goals of all the volunteer organizations concerned with protecting the unique qualities of the lake and its foreshore and to ensure that future development is undertaken in a manner to preserve these qualities with no adverse impact to water quality, visual quality, land and water flora and fauna  and the future enjoyment of the lake by all users.

The goals of the WPOS are likely to be best served by working cooperatively with the other, longer standing volunteer organizations at Christina Lake, to ensure that taxation revenues are applied in the most effective manner to the major challenges affecting the lake that we all love and enjoy.

Q: You state that membership is free for 2 years, when will a membership fee be required and how much will it be?

A: Free membership will end on the date of our AGM which is tentatively scheduled on Aug. 11th 2012. The fee will be the amount required to cover annual operating costs which will include website expenses. The one unknown at this time is, how much of the work load could be handled by volunteers, how many volunteer hours will be available and how many will remain members after a membership fee is established. Our objective is to provide good service at a reasonable cost to our members.

Q: Why isn’t the WPOS trying to expand the tax base for the milfoil program cost by including it in The Kettle River Watershed Study.

A: Part answer by area C director Grace McGregor

There is a misconception that the study is being funded through Area “C” Regional District taxation.
The Kettle River Study is NOT paid for by your property tax dollars, Area “C” has contributed $20,000 to the over $220,000 project, and those funds were from the Gas Tax monies provided by the Federal Government. It should be noted that Electoral Areas “D” and “E” have contributed over $100,000 of Gas Tax monies allocated to their areas to this very worthwhile project. This study will help our community plan for and react to flooding as well as identifying how local aquifers interact with the Kettle River.

Other information to consider:

• Over time there was water diverted from high elevation lakes to the Okanagan that previously drained into the Kettle River.
• There are years the water flow in the Kettle drops to the levels that result in higher water temperatures that kills fish, and farmers are asked to scale back irrigation. There is a substantial inventory of land in the ALR in the Boundary to expand agriculture, but lack of water in some area prevents that from happening.
• There may be serious concerns over legal rights to the amount water use North and East of Midway and Between Midway and Grand Fork on the Washington side.
• There may have to be serious consideration given to damming the flow from a number of high elevation lake during the Spring for gradual release during late summer and early fall.

Aside from the extreme difficulty for a smaller community to convince others to share costs through taxation, is it realistic, considering the above, to expect including the Christina Lake milfoil issue in the Kettle River Watershed Study??

Q: As a prospective paying member I have the following question. If your intention is to post all information on the WPOS website, will you retain most existing and attract new members when they are able to access information without contributing to the website cost?

A: After the membership fee is in place we will reserve a significant portion of the information on the website for members only.

Q: I was one of the first to join WPOS and I supported the Riparian Guidelines proposal but did not follow the dialogue. Why was it dropped?

A: The primary reason for the proposal was to preserve and to encourage riparian vegetation to maintain and improve lake water quality, particularly as related to fish spawning habitat. It was not clearly understood by the many waterfront property owner and created serious concerns. The WPOS was not against preserving and promoting riparian vegetation, but the guidelines negatively impacted many improvements planned by waterfront property owners and add significant costs. To those owners on fixed incomes and/or faced with financial constraint it meant reconsidering retirement plans. There were also issues concerning how the proposed riparian guidelines might be effectively applied with certain properties with existing development to which improvements are proposed.

On behalf of those negatively impacted the WPOS strived to modify the proposed guidelines/regulations so they would be much less onerous or consider education rather than regulation to preserve and encourage riparian vegetation. After input from our members, many meetings and group discussions a consensus was reached to go with education rater that regulation.