Lake Kagawong Resource Committee upset with lack of movement on issues

KAGAWONG – While the members of the Lake Kagawong Resource Committee (LKRC) were satisfied with the way things were going in relation to Oakville Enterprises and their control and maintenance of water levels on Lake Kagawong earlier this summer, the tide has now definitely changed.

“These setbacks have been happening far too often,” stated Bob Clifford, a member of the LKRC at a meeting last week. He was referring to work that was supposed be done last fall, or at the latest, this summer, involving the repairs and installation of water gauges, beaver debris at the Bridal Veil Falls being taken care of, and other issues that haven’t been addressed. “We were told last fall all the water gauges were supposed to be installed. All these items, and answers coming back from the company are not good enough. And the water levels in the lake are dropping.” He pointed out as well the water leaking from the dam has not been addressed. 

“They (Oakville Enterprises) got off to such a really good start,” said Mr. Clifford. “One concern is the dam has been leaking for six weeks now even though we haven’t had any significant rainfall. In the end we are going to be sitting here next year with the same concerns we have had all along.” 

Bryan Barker, chair of the committee and a Billings Township councillor explained, “hopefully at our next meeting with them we will get some answers. I went over the water management plan today and there are a lot of flaws in it. There are supposed to be checks and balances in place and responsibilities for all parties involved. We all need to work within the guidelines of the water management plan. Maybe we’ll get everyone a copy of the plan so as a committee we can sit down and look at where things are not being done and there are problems. As the plan is written, the plan is almost invalid to draw water if the checks and balances are not being carried out.”
Mr. Barker earlier in the meeting had brought up the status of the gauges, noting that none of the gauges have been installed. There has been response from the company since a previous meeting but nothing in relation to concerns or questions had been addressed. 

It was also reported by Brian Foreshew that “the (water) levels are still above acceptable: they are at 212.76 which leaves about 10 centimetres to go.”

“Or if the levels hit the rule curve there is a problem,” said Mr. Clifford.

“It’s not far off (the required level),” stated one committee member.

“The levels are at the rule curve at or near and the dam is still running,” said Stan Pierce. “Who makes the call (to cease the power generation)?”

Mr. Barker noted this is Oakville’s call.

It was pointed out from August 15 to 22 the water levels dropped three inches. 

“We also have mother nature to deal with, with another very dry summer, but that’s why we talked to Oakville about holding back water; this would have been an ideal year for them to do that,” said Mr. Barker. 

Mr. Barker told the meeting that the new gauges were supposed to be installed by July 22. “Obviously this hasn’t taken place, so this is a little disappointing as well.”

“This whole thing could drag on and on, meanwhile the watershed is suffering. Can we get the township to do maintenance on the dam?” asked Mr. Clifford. “We need action on that.” 

“I’m very disappointed at where we are from where we were six weeks ago,” stated Mr. Barker. 

Several more concerns were raised by committee members including that there are safety issues with beaver debris still in the dam, and leakage from the dam, and that although Oakville had agreed earlier they would not flush debris over the falls, they did. 

Mr. Clifford reiterated that the township needs to step up, have the dam fixed and send the bill to Oakville Enterprises.

“I will put this forward and we need to talk to them (Oakville) at our next meeting with them,” said Mr. Barker. 

It was pointed out since mid-May to July 7, the water levels dropped seven inches, and from then until August 27 the water levels have dropped another 11 inches.

“Fire me off emails with questions and we will talk to (Oakville Enterprises), and I will report my findings at our next meeting,” added Mr. Barker. He told the Recorder after last week’s meeting Oakville Enterprises has shut down the generating station as of September 1 when the allowed water level targets were hit.