On February 7 the Province of BC announced that the drawdown of Chapman Lake has not been approved. To quote from the press release:
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, has evaluated the Chapman Lake expansion project and after careful consideration, is not prepared to move forward with a park boundary amendment in Tetrahedron Provincial Park at this time.
As a result, the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s (SCRD) proposed expansion of the community water supply system infrastructure in the park cannot proceed.
As part of its long-term drinking water strategy, the SCRD was proposing that permanent piping be installed in Chapman Lake, as well as increasing the allowable drawdown of the lake.
BC Parks held consultations with the public and First Nations in the spring of 2018. Most respondents were opposed to a boundary adjustment or park re-designation.
Based on the materials and feedback gathered during the public consultation process, as well as consideration of the necessity of the Chapman Lake expansion project, more work is required by the SCRD to revise its comprehensive regional water plan to significantly reduce or eliminate the dependence on Chapman Lake as a source for additional water supply before considering a boundary amendment.
The SCRD is encouraged to continue researching alternative solutions beyond the use of Chapman Lake that will improve the existing water supply system. Under certain conditions, such as Stage 4 water restrictions during drought, the regional district will still be able to apply for temporary emergency amendments to employ a siphon system as it has done in recent years.
Frankly, I view this as a relief. I did not support the drawdown project for a number of reasons, including that it would not be the best use of $5 million in public money.
The Sunshine Coast has rich underground water sources that we have only begun to map, and preliminary drilling for groundwater is very promising. I hope we will be able to move forward with wells, and possibly a new water reservoir. Those additions will make our water supply much more robust without the risk of damaging one small, beautiful, precious alpine lake.