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Concerns Raised with Lake Safety


Last summer marked the end of the popular swimming and boating dock at Wellman Lake and it was deemed unsafe and scheduled for demolition. And, last month crews undertook the project.
Upon what appeared to be the completion of the project, Valley resident Jeff Connolly visited the site, only to leave with many concerns burdening him.
“I had heard that they were working on the project so I wanted to have a look,” said Connolly, who has many years of experience in environmental matters from both working for the government as well as his work with Swan Valley Sport Fishing Enhancement.
“When we got there the dock and all equipment used to remove it was gone but there were a number of 2x4s stuck in the ice with ribbon.
“On the ice, and what would be the beach and boat launch, there looks to be a 50 foot by 50 foot area with material scattered and embedded into the surfaces,” he continued.
“It looks like there was a pile they spread out that contained chunks of wood from the docks and other natural materials – rocks, sticks, gravel and mud.”
Connolly immediately had concerns for the environmental impacts this might have on the lake as well as the safety concerns for beach-goers and boaters if the issue isn’t rectified before spring melt occurs.
“The way it looks, they aren’t coming back to cleanup for at least a little bit,” he said. “If we get snow – which was called for – it could be covered and if we get rain or a quick thaw it could all go in Wellman Lake with no control.”
Connolly took his concerns straight to the provincial departments which have reassured him that there will be further cleanup in the near future.
“I feel that you can’t leave what they left legally,” he said. “You can’t.
“I also feel it’s a lack of responsibility for what is going on. Accidents happen and get cleaned up but this isn’t that – it’s doing what they want.
“And, instead of cleaning it up while all the machinery was out there, it will cost more to bring it all back up and who’s going to pay for that?”
The province was contacted about the issues and has re-assured that there are further cleanup efforts expected but they do not feel there are concerns about contamination to the lake because whatever debris remains was already there as part of the dock.
“That removal project has recently been (mostly) completed, with some remaining debris on the shoreline that will be cleaned up when the weather warms up a bit,” said a provincial spokesperson in an official statement. “The dock structure was removed from the lake, in accordance with environmental requirements, including the use of matting on the ice to minimize the chances of debris entering the water.
“There is a minor amount of debris still on the shoreline that became packed/frozen into the ground by the heavy equipment. It’s expected the area will be cleaned up in the next week or two (depending on weather), but well in advance of anyone wanting to use it for recreation.”