Councillors in North Cowichan are looking to try to decrease the amount of nutrients making their way into Quamichan Lake from a proposed large housing development.
Council decided at its meeting on Nov. 2 to ask Strandlund Investments Ltd., the proponents of the Kingsview housing development on the side of Mount Tzouhalem, to control and monitor nutrient discharge from the site, if the project is allowed to proceed.
The call comes on the heels of reports of at least four dogs dying recently from ingesting toxic algae in the lake, which is believed to be caused by the build up of nutrients from adjacent farms and work related to building housing developments.
Strandlund Investments Ltd. is proposing to build approximately 1,200 housing units in a large development project where the Cliffs over Maple Bay project was supposed to be constructed.
The Cliffs over Maple Bay project went bankrupt in 2008 during the global crash in real estate markets.
The Kingsview project has already received two readings from North Cowichan’s council, and a public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 23.
Coun. Kate Marsh, chairwoman of the municipality’s environmental advisory committee that recommended the request be made to the project’s proponents, said with so much soil removed from the site in the previous attempt to build a housing development there, new soil will likely have to be brought in for landscaping, and that would be full of phosphorous nutrients.
“I had a sense from the developers when we met them that they want to do this [control and monitor nutrient discharge from the site],” Marsh said.
“While we can’t force them to, I think it’s a good idea that it be considered and they said they would.”
said Mark Ruttan, North Cowichan’s director of corporate services, confirming that the municipality can’t force the proponents to agree to the conditions.
“There is a building code in place, and council can’t demand certain construction methods,” he said.
“It’s difficult to impose these conditions as part of our rezoning process without the developers agreeing. But I understand that they agree with a lot of this anyway.”
Scott Mack, North Cowichan’s director of development services, confirmed that the proponents have agreed to set aside funding for nutrient testing and awareness campaigns around the issue, but the discussions are not yet concluded.
North Cowichan CAO Dave Devana added that the municipality is meeting with the Quamichan Lake Stewardship Society early next week to discuss the nutrient problem in the lake, and what will be required to reduce it.