LETTER: Concerns about trout hatchery

How does the developer plan to stop unforeseen damage to the aquifer once it starts?

Dear Editor:

Are you convinced that our trout hatchery will be protected?

If you have been following the Banks Crescent 424-unit condo proposal in Summerland, you will know the development could damage the aquifer which supplies the trout hatchery with spring water.

Concerns about damage to the aquifer are why the Freshwater Fisheries Society asked Lark Enterprises Ltd. (the developer) in January to provide an emergency treated water source to be in place before construction and for the life of the hatchery.

But you can see just how hard it has been for the society to get the developer to locate and pay for that emergency water source.

In January, April and June, the developer said they would provide an emergency water source.

Then suddenly in July, the developer and their professionals said they would not damage the aquifer and therefore, the emergency water source was not needed.

They say their opinion is based on experience but also on a research paper from Korea published in 2000.

Besides, they say they will monitor construction and, if something does go wrong, they will stop right away. But hold on, the Korean research did not involve the same soils as found at Banks Crescent and did not involve an underlying aquifer.

Also, how does the developer plan to stop unforeseen damage to the aquifer once it starts?

In the meantime, how are the fish at the hatchery supposed to survive? The monitoring that the developer is now proposing is something that the society asked for back in February (in addition to the emergency water source.) It is very puzzling why the developer seems to be proposing this as something new and innovative.

I am not convinced that our trout hatchery will be protected.

I am also not surprised that the Fisheries Society — an agency of the provincial government — told the District of Summerland multiple times they do not support this development.

It also stands to reason why the B.C. Wildlife Federation (more than 50,000 members), some Summerland business owners and more than 3,000 people who have signed the petition do not support the development at this location.

Keep in mind that this one hatchery contributes over $100 million annually to our regional economy.

Compare this to the $200,000 in annual property taxes that the District of Summerland say this development will generate.

To voice your concerns, write Summerland Council (council@summerland.ca), send letters to newspapers and attend the public hearing when it is announced.

To sign the petition, go to www.sensiblesummerland.com.

Doug Wahl, MAppSc

Professional Biologist