Tests show water from Nita Lake construction site is safe 

But company turns off water to protect Jordan’s Creek

The latest tests on the water flowing from the Nita Lake Lodge construction site into Jordan’s Creek show that the water is safe.

"It is still basically potable water," said Dave Williamson of Cascade Environmental, which is responsible for monitoring the construction site.

"It doesn’t meet the drinking water standards for aesthetics because it has some colouration."

Nevertheless, said Williamson, Cascade has asked The Nita Lake Lodge Corporation to turn off the pump which is carrying water from the site to Jordan’s Creek.

"That was our recommendation," he said.

The request came after a meeting with members of the Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group, a volunteer organization, which works to rehabilitate lakes and streams damaged by human activity.

"The stewardship group called yesterday and they were getting anxious and saying: ‘Look, we are worried that it is going to affect the spawn,’ and we agreed," said Williamson.

No one from the stewardship group was available to comment.

The concern was that the pumped water was carrying with it an iron-coloured algae into Jordan’s Creek. With warm temperatures and sun the algae is having a bit of a bloom at the moment.

However, said Williamson, there is no research to suggest that this algae affects spawning fish. The pump has simply been turned off as a precautionary measure.

There is also a concern that the pumped water, which is naturally lower in oxygen, was affecting the oxygen content of the creek.

Williamson said the company was working with the municipality on how to correct this. It may mean aerating the water.

"We have kicked around some ideas about structures that cascade the pumped water to aerate it before it reaches the creek but whether we do that or not remains to be seen," he said.

Certainly something will need to be decided soon as the hole in the ground at the construction site will naturally begin to fill up with water.

"We know it will seek equilibrium," said Williamson.

"But we don’t know how fast so we are watching that, but absolutely I would like to know what we are doing before it fills up. The next 24 to 36 hours is (the time frame we are looking at) and we will do it. We will come up with something."

Construction was halted at Nita Lake in March after a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the development bylaw was illegal.

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