Local angler Ric Wheeler took his kayak out on Irrigation Lake last Wednesday to fish for trout

High School angling program threatened on Irrigation Lake

A local high school teacher is urging the Houston council to take action against the removal of the Irrigation Lake dam.

A local high school teacher is urging the Houston council to take action against the removal of the Irrigation Lake dam.

The dam water licence holder abandoned the licence and the dam was found in 2011 to be below safety standards.

As a result, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations sent a letter to stakeholders saying that someone needs to take over the water licence and they need a engineered plan for upgrading the dam by July 29 or else they will start pulling out the dam.

Local high school teacher ted Beck says he does not want that to happen.

“Irrigation Lake gets used a great deal because it’s nearby, and it’s available in what it has to offer, and there is no other lake that offers that close to Houston,” Beck said to  Houston council at last week’s meeting.

Beck says that this past year, he started up an angling program at Houston Secondary School, which uses Irrigation Lake exclusively.

For the program, students take the 15 minute drive to the lake and use canoes rented from Rock Nest Ranch, one of two Bible camps on the lake.

Beck says there is no other lake that close, that offers the angling opportunities of Irrigation, which is stocked with trout by the Ministry of Environment, and has the canoe availability.

“I’m not sure how I’ll run [the angling program] next year if the lake is drained,” said Beck.

The school also runs an outdoor education course with a canoeing program, which is threatened by the potential dam removal, Beck said.

He also noticed that the elementary schools use Rough Acres Bible Camp, which is on Irrigation, for an end of the year wrap up.

Outside of his teacher role, Beck says the lake is also a place where his family swims and fishes.

It’s a place he says his daughters go with friends because it’s close and safe and there are lots of families who use the lake for fishing because it’s stocked.

Beck said he recognizes that the situation with the lake is in provincial jurisdiction, and is looking for council to make connection with them.

“I know that you folks represent people here in Houston and I’m looking for some sort of connection to be made to the provincial government (Dam’s B.C.), so that we can look for a solution to this,” Beck said.

“I think this is a gem that we have within 15 minutes driving of our town. And it’s a gem that gets used by the citizenry of Houston.”