The Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. has hired a consultant to evaluate the potential impacts of a development proposal in Lowertown.
The society, which operates six fish hatcheries in the province, including the Summerland Trout Hatchery, has retained MDM Groundwater Consulting Ltd. to study the potential impacts of the Banks Crescent Development. “We’re engaged, we’re involved in the process,” said Tim Yesaki, vice-president of operations for the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. “We’re considered a significant stakeholder in this process.”
The hatchery’s water is sourced from a groundwater spring near the proposed Banks Crescent site.
Yesaki said the consultant’s review has identified areas of possible concern. It also recommends courses of action to mitigate anticipated impacts. The report is on the municipal website at www.summerland.ca/planning-building/banks-crescent. “We are pleased to see so many people care about the health of the Summerland Fish Hatchery and value it as an important part of the community. We have commissioned this study to make sure we have all the facts, ” Yesaki said. “At this time we don’t know the full extend of the development impacts and are awaiting response to our concerns.”
Kirk Fisher, senior vice-president of the Lark Group, developers of the proposed seniors housing facility, said precautions are being taken to protect the aquifer and groundwater. He said a hydrologist has been hired to examine the aquifer.
The aquifer is at a depth of 30 metres, but the development will involve digging down five to six metres, so the aquifer will not be touched.
In addition, Fisher said storm water from the development will not go to the aquifer.
Each year, the Summerland Trout Hatchery raises one million fish and stocks 300 lakes in the province. Yesaki said there have been other developments near the hatchery in recent years.
One of these, along the lake, was not a concern for the hatchery or the Freshwater Fisheries Society since it was at lake level and did not affect the water source.
Another development, on an uphill slope, was considered to have minimal impact to the spring. Other concerns were raised about the possibility of destabilization.