North Cowichan forms task force over toxic Quamichan Lake

A task force is being established to study and seek solutions to the ongoing health issues related to blue-green algae in Quamichan Lake.

A task force is being established to study and seek solutions to the ongoing health issues related to blue-green algae in Quamichan Lake.

The Municipality of North Cowichan decided to set up the Quamichan Lake Water Quality Task Force at the council meeting on Dec. 7.

The task force, which will be a select committee of council and act only in an advisory role, will be expected to recommend treatment strategies that will improve the water quality of the lake to the provincial government for consideration.

The task force will also identify specific strategies that the municipality and its partners can implement to reduce nutrient loading, which is suspected of causing the outbreak of the toxic blue-green algae, in the lake.

Coun. Al Siebring said he’s pleased any proposed strategies to deal with the lake will be given to the province.

“That’s the appropriate door for this to go through, rather than having us deal with all of this,” he said.

There have been at least four reported dog deaths around Quamichan Lake this fall, and all are suspected to be caused by ingesting the algae from the lake.

BC Aquifer, which does water inspections and tests around the province, has confirmed that the water in Quamichan Lake is heavy in cyanotoxins.

As suspected, the toxins are produced by blue-green algae, and if produced in enough concentrations, can have significant health impacts on animals and humans.

It’s widely believed that the farms and housing developments adjacent to the lake have contributed greatly to the problem.

The Municipality of North Cowichan has posted signs around Quamichan Lake warning people about the issue and advising them to keep themselves and their animals away from the water.

The seven-member task force will be chaired by North Cowichan mayor Jon Lefebure and consist of Jim Cosh, from the Quamichan Lake Stewardship Society, Dr. David Preikshot, from Madrone Environmental Services, Dr. Dave Groves, a retired biologist and three people with expertise in water quality that have yet to be chosen.

It’s expected that the task force will report to council with its recommendations by      March 15.

Coun. Rob Douglas said he hopes the task force will consider the future impacts on the lake if all the housing developments that are proposed for the area are constructed.

“We can come up with solutions that will solve the problem for now, but we must also consider the future,” he said.

Coun. Joyce Behnsen added that septic fields in the area are also big contributors to nutrient build up in Quamichan Lake and hopes the task force will take this into consideration during its investigation.

Coun. Tom Walker said he thinks the establishment of the task force and its mandate is “timely and well laid out.”

“I’m very impressed with the quality of the task force members,” he said.

“This is a necessary thing and I wish the task force success.”

Just Posted

Desmond (Casey) Peter serves salmon and hamburgers to the waiting crowd at the Cowichan Tribes’ celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cowichan Tribes celebrates National Indigenous People’s Day

First Nation members gather for day of fun and remembrance

The Crofton Pool will reopen July 2. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Lifeguard services returning to Fuller Lake Park, Crofton Pool

Summer schedule starting after hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic

Sierra Acton, regional district director for Shawnigan Lake. (file photo)
New parkland in Shawnigan creating connections

Used to created parking for the popular Masons Beach Park

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: This could be the worst thing done to you during the pandemic

As a result, all of us will contend with more ‘scarcity’ thinking and mindset.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

The number of skilled trades workers available is not enough to fill the current construction boom in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Supply of skilled tradespeople can’t keep up to Vancouver Island construction boom

Thousands of positions will be needed by 2030, despite flow of Camosun trades students

Most Read