Buoys marking the swim area at Alouette Lake exposed due to the low water levels in past years. THE NEWS/files

Letter: BC Hydro not draining Alouette Lake

Just lowering the level to allow crucial seismic safety upgrade

Editor, The News:

I am writing in response to the article, “Hydro to lower Alouette Lake by six metres this summer” The News, Oct. 17, issue.

We understand the concerns expressed in the article and by the local community about lower water levels at Alouette Lake Reservoir this upcoming summer.

Public safety is our number one priority. The seismic upgrades being done at Alouette that require us to temporarily lower water levels, will further protect local communities and ensure water can pass through the tunnel from Alouette Lake to Stave Lake reservoir following a major earthquake.

After reviewing various options, we determined we must lower water levels in order to safely conduct this work. We are not “draining the lake” as the article stated. We are lowering the reservoir level by approximately six metres to allow us to make these upgrades during the summer when inflows to the reservoir are lowest, and most predictable.

We understand the challenges this creates for recreational users, as well as potential environmental and archeological impacts. We are working with local First Nations, BC Parks, the Alouette River Management Society, and local governments to develop a plan to help mitigate potential impacts and protect these important values.

We have been revising our project plan based on the feedback received to date and we will be undertaking further public communication in the coming weeks.

We are committed to working with First Nations and stakeholders to develop a comprehensive sockeye salmon restoration plan at Alouette, while ensuring any investment we make is successful and sustainable over the long term.

While we work through our Fish Passage Decision Framework, we will continue the trap-and-truck program that was established in 2007, as well as our spring smolt out-migration operations that have been in place since 2005 to facilitate salmon passage over the dam.

Jerry Muir

Lower Mainland Community Relations,

BC Hydro

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