For the first time since 1993, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) will be putting a little more focus and care into one of the town’s hidden gems—Eva Lake Park.
Eva Lake, built in 1973 by Walter Zebrowski and named after his daughter, was brought to the attention of the RMOW by Ewa Zebrowski after she noticed the lake looking a “little sad and little neglected” during a visit from Montreal in 2019.
“I think it’s a very beautiful spot. It’s like a magical hidden jewel at Whistler. It’s important to have something that can be enjoyed by residents and also that was created by somebody who was really one of the early, early settlers of Whistler Mountain,” said Zebrowski.
“And, you know, to me this has sentimental value because it kind of represents my father’s determination his imagination, his love for his community and his wanting to leave a mark that would be enjoyed by others.”
According to Heather Beresford, environmental stewardship manager at the RMOW, some preliminary tests on the pond including measuring the depth of water, water quality analysis and a survey of amphibian egg masses have already been done. All of which showed positive results.
While the pond used to be a spot where people could catch and release rainbow trout, there hasn’t been any fish other than sticklebacks for “probably close to a decade” since the Ministry of Environment stopped stocking the lake, according to Beresford.
Despite Zebrowski thinking the park was in need of some upkeep, one of the few locals who has private access to the lake, but requested to not be named, has some concerns about the work the town is planning to do.
“To be honest, it’s just nice the way it is. One of the things that makes this place beautiful is that it is a spot for solitude,” she said.
“It’s one of the best kept secrets in Whistler, that’s what’s made it beautiful. I kind of like it the way it is. I’m not looking for any major improvements to turn it into a tourist attraction.”
According to Beresford, the RMOW isn’t planning on making any major changes to the park and would also like to keep it preserved the way it is now.
“I have to admit that it’s a little place that we haven’t spent a lot of time on. It seemed to be OK on its own, but Ewa has certainly brought it to our attention, and we certainly recognize the history and fully respect what her dad did,” said Beresford.
“So, we will be keeping Eva Lake more on our radar now. The intent is to let it be a natural little pond with vegetation on the sides. We won’t be clearing any of the vegetation or anything like that.”
The main work the RMOW will be doing is digging out the sediment that comes from the clearing of the roads and builds up in the stream and ponds that feed in to Eva Lake and updating the interpretive signs that display the lake’s history.
The digging out of the sediment will be done sometime this summer and is now permanently on the road crew’s schedule. And the interpretive signs will be updated and replaced by 2022.
“This was certainly not intended as any disrespect [to Walter Zebrowski]. It’s a beautiful little park and it’s really a great little quiet oasis in the neighbourhood,” said Beresford. “And we want to continue to make sure that the pond is in good shape and be respectful to what [Ewa’s] dad created."