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LETTER: Action needed to protect water supply

Concerns have been raised about quality of water at Darke Lake

Dear Editor:

Re: Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen receives grant for water protection

I do not deny the need is there to improve source water protection, but wonder what $25,000 will actually help. There are some cases that need action, not studies.

Over the past two years I have personally sent a number of photos of cow manure littered throughout the beach at Darke Lake Provincial Park, and spent time sending them to various groups including Interior health, Ministry of Forests, BC Parks, and even the local MLA Dan Ashton.

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I found that there was one individual in BC Parks that who sympathetic. I was not able to speak to Dan Ashton, only his assistant.

It is interesting to note that the district of Summerland has a water licence for Darke Lake. The outflow of Darke Lake is Darke Creek, which flows into Trout Creek. It is also likely that a portion of Darke Creek goes underground in some areas. Over ten years ago there was a recommendation made that these creeks should be monitored .

The problem as I see it is there is a huge conflict between the need to protect the water source, and to keep Darke Lake Provincial Park free of free range cattle.

The provincial government has just released a budget for BC Parks for the next three years, and includes acquisition of new park lands. In my view the existing parks should be taken care of, and am embarrassed at the state of Darke Lake Provincial Park. Wonder what tourists think?

As a land owner for the past 30 years in the Darke Creek area, I have witnessed the continued degradation of the park, which is continually infested with range cattle. In my view it is time for change in regards to priorities . The watershed in the Darke Lake Provincial Park should not allow free range cattle, and the practice should be phased out. The water source, Darke Lake, should be protected, as should the environment.

It is time to stop subsidizing the free range cattle industry with taxes,stumpage, and use of crown lands in watershed areas.

In some cases the water community, and public have grown increasingly aware of the importance of protecting water at the source, but is also likely that many think that the tap is their source of water.

Charles Parkhurst


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