June 16, 2016 - 8:30 AM
PENTICTON - There is concern a proposed development in the Twin Lakes area will cause additional stress to the local water supply.
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen directors will take a look at the documents related to the Twin Lakes Golf Resort development variance permit at this week's board meeting. The documents include comments from the provincial hydrologist and regional district staff regarding the recently released Golder Hydrogeological assessment of the Twin Lakes aquifer.
In his report regional district subdivision supervisor Stephen Juch notes the study only considered the first phase development of 50 units, with no indication of sustainability for additional development. Juch also points out the report’s use of the term 'should be sustainable' as not being conducive to giving the reader a lot of confidence, adding a number of statements in the report saying the regional district had 'approved in principle' in supporting the variance or values used were in error.
“These statements are not correct,” Juch writes in a report to the board.
Ministry staff comments echo similar concerns around the data used, saying 'there remain uncertainties and limitations in the conceptualization and the data supporting the model development' outlined in the report.
In the summary from Ministry of Environment staff, it is noted the ministry support a phased in project, in general, but also notes historical evidence of water stress within the Twin Lakes area.
“While Golder’s model indicates that groundwater resources can likely support the additional 50 domestic residences in most climatic conditions, this development will cause additional pressure on the system in times of scarcity,” the ministry review states.
Twin Lakes resident Coral Brown, who has led community efforts to appeal to the government to gather more data on the aquifer before allowing the development, says she is happy with the response and comments to the hydrogeological report from provincial and regional district staff.
“Everyone who has looked at it sees problems with the report,” she says.
Brown insists development can’t go ahead without being fully aware of what’s going on in the aquifer. She says another monitoring well is needed, in addition to a hydrometric station on Horn Creek. She notes Horn Creek is a critical but poorly understood waterway which is being largely ignored.
“The report only looks at the first phase of 50 units, and ignores the fact The Nature Trust isn’t using their water license, which hasn’t been used since 1987,” she says, adding water use in the aquifer simply switched from ranch use to golf course use when the golf course doubled to 18 holes.
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