CHESTERMERE– Resident Chris Lepine had just pulled his sea-doo into the boat launch on June 27 when he was asked how he felt about the amount of seaweed in the lake.
“There are definitely a lot of weeds,” he replied, “but I wouldn’t say it’s been a big problem for me.”
Lepine added he was more concerned with his machine, which wasn’t running very well at the moment.
He proceeded to load the boat up onto a trailer to get a better look. Then, in a moment of cruel irony, Lepine bent underneath the boat to find a large pile of seaweed was caught in the propeller.
“Look at it all,” he exclaimed, as he pulled out chunks of weed.
Lepine isn’t the only one who’s had a problem with lake vegetation. Weeds have been an ongoing issue for years, and the Town of Chestermere has started exploring new ways of controlling their growth, according to a recent release.
“The lake is a central feature of our community and we want to keep it looking great,” said Mayor Patricia Matthews. “While weed harvesting helps control the weeds, it is only a temporary solution.
“So this year, council is exploring a longer term answer: dredging the lake.”
The Town’s ability to use chemicals or fish species to control the weeks is limited because Chestermere is part of the Bow River water system. Council recently decided to explore dredging, which would deepen the lake by scrapping off the bottom of the lake bed.
Deepening the lake restricts weed growth because sunlight isn’t able to reach the weed’s roots. The Town has already received proposals from several companies offering to do the work. Timelines range from several months to three years.
Project costs also vary, from $10- to $30 million, so council is seeking the public’s opinion prior to considering a contract.
“There are many factors to consider before moving forward,” Matthews said. “Council would like the support of the community before pursuing such an extensive project.”
Lepine said he would prefer the town continued to harvest the weeds, but on a more regular basis, instead of potentially wrecking the lake’s ecosystem. However, he said something needs to be done because the weeds are deterring many people from using the lake.
When asked, resident Dave Nieckar also said he was concerned about the impact lake dredging would have on the wildlife relying on the lake’s current condition. He said he’d like to know if a company planned to identify and protect the existing ecosystem before he’d support the project.
The Town will be seeking the public’s opinion on lake dredging through a survey, which is expected to come out shortly. The survey contains some background information and a question about whether or not to pursue the dredging project.
Between July 1 and Aug. 31, residents can download the survey at www.chestermere.ca and email it to email@example.com, fax it to 403-207-7080, mail it to 105 Marina Road, Chestermere, AB T1X 1V7, come in to town hall to complete it or complete it online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DredgingSurvey