The mayor of Sylvan Lake is quoted in the Sept. 7 Red Deer Advocate as saying, “We still don’t have enough information to move forward on what is the correct decision” regarding tinkering with the outflow channel.
There is a concept in economics that says the expected value of perfect information is infinite. In lay terms, this means there is not enough money in the universe to gather enough data to ensure the decision you need to make will be 100 per cent correct.
The mayor and council do not appear to understand this basic concept. They seem to feel that if they spend enough time and money studying this issue, one of three things will happen: a fundamental concept of economics will change, the issue will just go away over time, or there will be an election in which they will be defeated — for a variety of reasons beside the lake level (Hwys 781 and 11) — and someone else can deal with the problem.
One of the dithering multiple jurisdictions needs to spend the money required to dredge the outlet creek. Don’t let a few pike be the excuse for not doing this. Pike are not an endangered species and have lots of options for breeding within the lake.
The same jurisdiction needs to ensure all the downstream weirs, which farmers have installed, are permanently removed. Dredging can only bring about an increase in flow volume and help lower the lake level.
The Sylvan Lake management committee seems to put a lot of faith in a “lake assessment report.” This report admits it has no idea why lake levels are so high, while at the same time it is adamant that 90 to 95 per cent of water loss is due to evaporation and not outflow.
It has no clue as to the cause of the problem but is sure it knows the solution. I doubt it.
Lower the lake level before millions of dollars of additional shoreline damage occurs. Dithering and doing nothing is easy but it is not a viable solution.