Catalyst

Catalyst

Catalyst gearing up to install pumps at Lake Cowichan weir

As part of ongoing efforts to sustain the Cowichan River, Catalyst Paper announced Aug. 24 that

As part of ongoing efforts to sustain the Cowichan River, Catalyst Paper announced Aug. 24 that it is making preparations to pump water from Cowichan Lake into the river to maintain minimum flow rates.

It’s all about preventing the Cowichan from running dry as a result of the negligible spring snowpack and the dry summer.

Given current weather conditions, the company expects pumping may be required by mid-September.

“Keeping the river running is the right thing to do to protect community interests, fish and wildlife, and to help avoid a temporary shutdown of the Crofton mill, which employs approximately 600 local workers,” said Brian Houle, the environmental manager at the Crofton pulp mill.

“We’re making the preparations so that we could start if needed. This is all about having infrastructure in place that we could push a button and make it happen when we need to make it happen.”

But Lake Cowichan residents are likely to be curious about any activity at the weir.

“We know people will be driving by the weir and it’s busy as a beehive up there. We want to make sure they are alerted to what’s going on,” Houle said, referring to the construction work by BC Hydro and other contractors near the boat lock.

“One of the first things is to have a concrete pad at ground level for the transformers to be mounted on to. Because we will be bringing in electricity instead of the diesel generators that was the original plan. It will look different, but it looks less different than it would if we had gone with the diesel generators.

Mostly, this is a much better plan,” he said.

“We have made a significant effort to minimize any inconvenience to the local residents by tapping into power lines to electrify pumps,” said Houle. “This avoids noise, emission and fuel handling that would have been involved if shore-based diesel generators were used as was originally anticipated.”

Between now and Sept. 20 Catalyst will have the ability to start the pumps.

“And we will have trialed them. We would be ready on Sept. 20 if that is what happens.”

There’s no guarantee that Sept. 20 will be pumping day if rain rolls in.

“Last year we had the pumps and everything ready in Langley on a three-weeks’ notice. And last year on Aug. 31 we got that rainfall. We shouldn’t have had that rain. It was unexpected. We are not planning on it this year,” Houle said.

“The pumps will be installed this year because there is nothing that could happen other than a huge rainfall to stop that,” he said.

If and when pumping is required, Catalyst will use approximately 30 per cent of the pumped water for the Crofton Mill and for domestic use by the village of Crofton. The other 70 per cent will be used for conservation purposes to support fish populations in the Cowichan River.

If pumping proceeds, it is expected to continue until Cowichan Lake is recharged from rainfall and is once again supplying the river.

An independent, qualified environmental professional will monitor lake levels and provide a bi-weekly report to regulators throughout the pumping operation, Houle said.

Catalyst is committed to working with First Nations and local governments to find a long-term solution to ensure the health of the Cowichan River, he said.

This includes looking at options to raise the height of the weir, which would increase water storage, allow for greater control during drought conditions in the future and to keep the river healthy.

Catalyst will advise the community if and when pumping is required.

Just Posted

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

The former St. Joseph’s School site will remain an art studio at least into early next year. It will take some time before being converted to an addictions recovery community. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Addiction recovery facility will be all about building community together

Society on a clear path with members’ experiences to provide valuable help

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read