District waits to discuss Irrigation water licence until engineering study

Irrigation Lake stakeholders will not take on the water licence without more information about the dam and the cost of upgrades.

Irrigation Lake stakeholders will not take on the water licence without more information.

Irrigation Lake dam was found to be below safety standards in 2011, and on June 26, 2013 the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations sent a letter to Irrigation Lake stakeholders saying that they needed a new water licence holder and an engineered plan for the dam by July 29 or they would initiate plans for dam removal.

Since then, stakeholders have acquired funding and contracted a professional engineer to assess the dam and develop a plan.

Brennan Clarke, Public Affairs Officer for the Ministry, said that “is a substantial milestone in the rehabilitation process, which demonstrates significant commitment on the stakeholders’ part.

“Given this recent development, provincial staff are prepared to continue to be as reasonable and flexible as possible,” he said.

The Water Stewardship Branch met with Irrigation Lake stakeholders last week Monday to discuss the water licence, which Clarke says carries with it liability and responsibility for dam maintenance and upgrades.

The stakeholders at the meeting said that they could not take on the water licence without information from the dam inspection and the estimated cost of the dam repair, said stakeholder representative Steve Page.

Mayor Bill Holmberg says that once the study is done and they see the costs to bring the dam to standard, then stakeholders will discuss the licence again.

“Right now, no decisions will be made until that study is done,” he said, adding that won’t likely be until September.

Page says Houston residents who use and value Irrigation Lake park, owned by the District of Houston, should let Houston councillors know how they feel, because council represents the public interests in the discussion.