Western painted turtles sun themselves on a log in the Kalavista lagoon in Coldstream. (Carla Hunt photo)

Lagoon’s future debated

The future of Coldstream’s Kalavista lagoon is making waves.

Council was split Tuesday over options to rehabilitate the lagoon, and particularly the concept of developing a wetland.

“Does this wetland creation make economic sense?” said Coun. Peter McClean.

However, Coun. Pat Cochrane pushed to have the district only investigate a wetland further.

“That’s where we should get more information and focus on the scope of the project,” he said.

In the end, though, a majority of council disagreed with Cochrane and also wanted to look at creating water flow into the lagoon.

“I’d like more information on the other options,” said Coun. Glen Taylor.

The lagoon has had poor water quality for a number of years, with monitoring in 2008 highlighting high nutrient levels, coliform bacteria and strong odours.

“The water stagnates at the times of the year when there is no runoff. There is little capacity for inflow or outflow,” said Brenda Miskimmin, with Associated Environmental, which reviewed the lagoon with Kerr Wood Leidal.

Much of Tuesday’s discussion revolved around the idea of a wetland, which the lagoon was naturally years ago.

“We could design a wetland to accommodate wetland plants and provide habitat for amphibians, birds and other wildlife. It could be a nice destination for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts,” said Miskimmin.

However, some council members expressed concerns that the lagoon may not be large enough for a viable wetland and that without maintenance, the area could eventually fill in.

“It will head towards meadow and then land,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.

The cost of the options will be pursued, and there may be pressure for the district to consult with the public.

“We need to know if the residents want a wetland or a lagoon,” said Flo Ryan, who lives nearby.

One process that is moving ahead, though, is developing a plan to keep invasive carp out of the lagoon.

“They really shouldn’t be there. They are creating turbidity issues so natural vegetation can’t grow,” said Miskimmin.

 

The Kalavista Lagoon is a popular spot for waterfowl and other creatures. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)