Cowichan Weir separating Cowichan Lake from the Cowichan River. Supplied by Weir Ready Facebook page.
“The new weir is probably six years away.”
That’s according to Lake Cowichan Mayor Rod Peters who sits on the Project Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC) board, whose mandate is to ensure all those sitting at the table get what they want when it comes to the weir.
The PTAC committee is made up of representatives from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Catalyst Paper, the Cowichan Watershed Board, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, and Lake Cowichan council.
Peters said the committee is doing a lot of leg work leading up to the construction of the new weir.
“This committee is going to be getting everything set up and ready to go and it’s a three and a half to a four-year process. After that, they’ll start construction,” said Peters.
In the 2019 drought season, the lake level hit 28 percent in March, the snowpack was a quarter of what is deemed “normal” and in late August, environmental experts had to pump water from Cowichan Lake into the Cowichan River.
Peters sits on the PTAC committee and regular meetings among key stakeholders are expected to run for four years.
“We’re going to start doing all the technical stuff on getting it set up to build the new weir,” said Peters.
The existing weir was built in 1957, is 97 centimetres high, and is owned by Catalyst Paper.
New this year, the Cowichan Weir will close at the beginning of March, not the end of May, which was the case last year.
In early 2020, residents in the Lake Cowichan area will see the water treatment plant completed and a lot of new construction projects.