If the initial meeting is any indication, the Gardom Lake Management Plan will be a collaborative effort that engages all stakeholders.
Val Jenzen, a member of the Friends of Gardom Lake, says a public meeting at the Ranchero-Deep Creek Firehall was very well-attended by members of the community and lake users.
“It was fabulous, we even had representation from the fly-fishing group,” she says. “People are really happy that, for the most part, once they found out it is for a lake management plan that could open the door to more environmental studies. Most people are concerned about the health of the lake.”
Jenzen was ecstatic, as were other ‘Friends’ that the group will have a seat on the planning committee which is currently under construction.
“I think it will be fabulous to have a voice and hopefully we can represent much of the community; we’re certainly hoping we get a lot of input from residents and users,” she says with enthusiasm. “It’s just so exciting to hear there’s going to be involvement and people are going to have discussions about the lake, because it’s a wonderful little lake.”
Jenzen says the November meeting addressed three main concerns. In terms of priority, water quality was first, second was the environment as a whole, including the foreshore, wildlife, etcetera and the third was human impacts.
The Friends of Gardom Lake are also thrilled that the Fraser Basin Council has been hired to co-ordinate the plan, whose bill is being footed by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
“I think they’re the right people for the job,” she says.
That’s music to Tracy Thomas’ ears.
The assistant regional manager is the lead for Fraser Basin Council on this project and was equally impressed with the inaugural meeting.
“I think the meeting was great; people had a positive vibe and are looking forward to a planning process where they feel included,” she says, referring to some past issues and the relief several people expressed about a third party co-ordinating the process. “They said they’re excited and they showed up on a horrible, snowy night.”
Thomas says a lot of feedback was collected from the 50 or so people who attended, with more from an online survey on the Fraser Basin Council website.
“We collected what people’s values are and it was easy to get a long list of what they don’t like,” she says. “But we also learned a lot about what they value too.”
Columbia Shuswap Regional District board members gave unanimous approval to entering into an agreement with the Fraser Basin Council to facilitate and develop a management plan for the lake at their November board meeting.
At the June 2013 board meeting, directors approved up to $35,000 in funds from the Area D Community Works Fund for development of the plan, contingent on the province providing at least one-third of the cost.
When provincial funding was denied earlier this year, directors agreed to up the ante to a maximum $40,000.
“We have been contracted to write a plan for May…” says Thomas, noting other sources of funding (perhaps community groups) will be sought during the process. “We’re trying to manage expectations and have some quick wins on the ground.”