Lacombe County wants Gull Lake water levels stabilized

Lacombe County will press Alberta Environment for a long-term solution to Gull Lake’s water level concerns, said the municipality’s senior manager.

Lacombe County will press Alberta Environment for a long-term solution to Gull Lake’s water level concerns, said the municipality’s senior manager.

“What we want to see is a long-term, sustainable program to ensure water levels are maintained,” said county commissioner Terry Hager on Monday.

Since the 1970s, the Alberta government has paid the cost of pumping water out of the Blindman River into the lake, which is not fed by a river. During dry periods, lake levels can drop dramatically.

But the province sent the message earlier this fall that the pumping program was among a long list of water projects under review.

Discussions will be taking place with municipalities around the lake to share the $114,000 annual cost.

Lacombe County council has not yet discussed whether they would be willing to contribute.

Hager said a meeting with Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner had been tentatively set up for early next month, but was postponed because the minister wanted to discuss the issue with Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins first. That has since taken place.

“We’re basically waiting word from Environment to see where they’re at,” he said.

The Gull Lake Management Committee, which includes representatives from municipalities around the lake, plans to discuss the stabilization issue at its Friday meeting.

Ponoka County chief administrative officer Charlie Cutforth is optimistic that something can be worked out to keep the pumping program going.

“I hope so. We don’t see any reason why not. We’re not talking huge numbers.”

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