Pumping over the weir in Cowichan Lake has been required when summer droughts threatened to run the Cowichan River dry. (Gazette file)

Pumping over the weir in Cowichan Lake has been required when summer droughts threatened to run the Cowichan River dry. (Gazette file)

Final design for new Lake Cowichan weir to be unveiled

The presentation runs Thursday, July 8 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

A live online presentation this week will give residents their first look at the final design for the Cowichan Lake Weir Replacement Project.

The presentation will also feature updates from the preliminary design and options for the future.

The presentation runs Thursday, July 8 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. followed by a question and answer session for one hour.

“We will also give an overview of the Shoreline Assessment project that is underway,” according to the invitation sent out to property owners. “This will include presenting the project steps and an initial introduction to two key pieces of the assessment: the Property View Tool and the Lake Level Modelling.”

In March, project manager Leroy Van Wieren reported to the CVRD that after a number of technical studies, it had been determined that the location of the new Lake Cowichan weir, which will be constructed next to the existing one, has been found to be stable and suitable for the project.

Over a two-year period from 2017 to 2018, a public advisory group developed a water-use plan for Cowichan Lake and the Cowichan River that provides a long-term solution for storing water on the lake in order to maintain sufficient water flows in the river into the future, taking into consideration the climate change projections for the watershed.

The key recommendation of the advisory group was to construct a new weir with an increase of 70 cm of elevation above the existing weir.

The current weir, located at the mouth of Cowichan Lake in the Town of Lake Cowichan, was built in the 1950s to provide industrial water storage for the Catalyst pulp and paper mill in Crofton.

But the weir was not designed to hold the additional and necessary volume of water to sustain the river flows that are now needed, nor does it meet today’s engineering standards required for expansion of storage capacity.

The CVRD is directing the project to replace the weir on behalf of partners Cowichan Tribes, Paper Excellence which owns the Crofton mill, and the Cowichan Watershed Board.

The actual construction of the new weir, whose total cost has yet to be determined, is expected to begin in 2024, and it should take less than a year to complete.

There are two ways to attend the meeting, online, via the link at the www.cowichanlakeweir.ca website or via phone.

The call-in number is: 1-844-992-4726 and the call-in access code is: 187 684 4800.

Those wishing to ask questions can submit them on the website or ask during the event’s question and answer period.

For those unable to make the meeting at its scheduled time, the recorded presentation and weir final design will be posted on the website shortly after the live presentation concludes.

To learn more visit www.cowichanlakeweir.ca

—With files from Robert Barron, Gazette

Lake Cowichan