Williams Lake’s Aquatic Vegetation Harvester hit the water to cut weeds this week.
The City’s certified operators, accompanied by a biologist to monitor for wildlife, completed the four areas the province permitted the machine to operate in six hours. The City says in that time, about four wheelbarrows of vegetation were extracted, with no aquatic life detected.
Director of Municipal Services Rob Warnock says the City was permitted to use these areas for testing, but these areas didn’t give enough information.
“[We’re testing] to see how many weeds we’re going to be able to cut,” Warnock explains, “we had to be at a depth of two metres, we had to be so far away from the shore to run the lake harvester, we’re just seeing what we’re picking up, and we did not pick up enough to do anything.”
The four areas the city was permitted to cut in were in front of the aerodrome, around both boat launches, and in front of the public beach. Warnock says there are other areas the City wants to cut the weeds.
“You can go down there and look all around Scout Island, you can look at within the city boundaries at this point, there’s weeds all over in front of the homes down on Signal Point,” Warnock says, “there’s lots of areas we could go into. After we started on the 18th, we sent a quick email out to see if they would give us any more, but we were told ‘no right off the bat.'”
Warnock says Williams Lake City Council is getting involved and is trying to receive an audience with the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Development.
“The City has received numerous complaints and concerns from residents and visitors to our community regarding the volume of aquatic vegetation in the lake,” said Mayor Walt Cobb. “under Council’s direction, the City has sent an urgent letter to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development requesting a discussion to determine next steps to address the ongoing struggle to maintain the aquatic vegetation growth in our lake to something that is practical, and balances safety and aesthetic issues with aquatic wildlife protection.”
The city is currently permitted to use the machine between October 15th and December 31st or when the lake freezes, whichever comes first. These dates are set, to reduce the impact of aquatic wildlife in the lake.