Lowering of water in Heffley Lake causes scramble

(Image: Recreation Sites and Trails B.C.)

HEFFLEY LAKE – Residents on the lake are already looking nervously toward the inevitable onset of colder weather even though it seems a long way off.

By Aug. 21, owners of towable/ trailerable boats will have to get them off the lake or they could be trapped there for the winter.

And, lakeshore residents are figuring out how to avoid frozen water lines and other potential problems that could result from the lowering of the water level.

Heffley Lake is a reservoir created by the Heffley Creek irrigation dam, and the level of the lake rises and falls depending, in part, on the needs of the Heffley Irrigation District. The lake is already low but the district has decided to lower it another three feet due to irrigation needs.

Tor Schmid of the Heffley Lake Community Association tells me the lake is already as low as it’s been since 1977.

The issue with boats results from a decision by the Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Ministry to make alterations to the boat launch in view of the lowering of the lake, in order to protect the riparian areas along the shoreline. The changes will prevent towable boats from using the launch.

As well, there were concerns the ramp will be too steep to use once the water drops. The launch is the only one on the lake suitable for larger boats.

A notice from Recreation Sites and Trails B.C., which is a program under FLNRO, says the modification will take place Aug. 21 and will be temporary, but doesn’t say when things  will return to normal.

The date had originally been set earlier, but was delayed after the HLCA pointed out that the owners of large boats need more time to get them moved. Car-top boats will still be able to use the launch.

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