• The algal bloom in Salmon Arm Bay is being called “unprecedented,” but scaled-back testing due to COVID-19 has made studying the conditions that created it difficult. Hamish Kassa, Columbia Shuswap Regional District environmental services coordinator, said in his 40 years of working on the lake, he has never seen an algal bloom the size of the one which has lent a green tint to the water in Salmon Arm Bay and the Sunnybrae area in recent weeks.
Kassa said the bloom seems to be receding and the water is clearing near Salmon Arm, but the algae is still prevalent near Tappen and Sunnybrae. Traces of the bloom were observed as far away as the Cinnemousun Narrows.
• Government partners behind the Sicamous-to-Armstrong Rail Trail faced higher than expected development costs due to flooding over the summer and ongoing soil erosion. With the recent completion of technical design work, development of the rail trail is now pegged at an estimate of $22.9 million. A Regional District of the North Okanagan (RDNO) staff report, circulated prior to the Aug. 21 meeting of the trail governance advisory committee, stated the estimate is for a 50-kilometre gravel corridor similar to the Okanagan Rail Trail developed between Coldstream and Kelowna. “It’s substantially higher than predicted because there’s some major erosion and flooding,” commented said Phil McIntyre-Paul, with the Shuswap Trail Alliance, contracted to oversee planning and development of the rail corridor.
• Invasive clams were found in the Salmon Arm of Shuswap Lake. The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) announced Sept. 16 that dead Asian clam shells (Corbicula fluminea) found on the beaches of Shuswap Lake in 2019 prompted a survey of the shore area once water levels dropped. Live populations of Asian clams were subsequently found at Sunnybrae and Canoe beaches, and surveys are still underway. “At Sunnybrae we were finding around 20 clams per square metre of lake bed,” said Sue Davies, aquatic coordinator for the society. CSISS stated in a news release the Asian clam is not to be confused with invasive zebra and quagga mussels, which have not been detected in B.C. waters.
• Greg Kyllo didn’t want to see Premier John Horgan putting himself and the NDP ahead of the needs of British Columbians. With recent Angus Reid polling data showing Horgan’s approval rating at 69 per cent, due in part to the province’s response to COVID-19, there was growing speculation the premier would call for a snap election in October – one year ahead of the scheduled election date of Oct. 16, 2021. The Liberal Shuswap MLA had several concerns. One was that it would go against the purpose of having a fixed election date, something the Liberals introduced in 2001 to ensure the timing of elections wouldn’t be manipulated for political or partisan purposes.
“I think British Columbians want to have certainty, there’s a lot of validity in having fixed election dates,” said Kyllo. “John Horgan certainly spoke up in support of fixed election dates previously, before he was premier of the province.”