Tie Lake Dam, April 7. Photo submitted by RDEK

RDEK asks public to obey voluntary no-wake ban

Tie Lake Dam infrastructure at risk due to rising water levels

Tie Lake has been reinforced with sandbags due to a rise in water levels. The RDEK is making a plea to boaters to obey a voluntary no-wake zone on the lake until water levels have dropped to a more seasonal level.

“We know Tie Lake is often the first lake people head to in early spring as it traditionally has warmer temperatures for the early spring rides; however, the water is still extremely high and the dam remains at risk, especially if heavy waves start pounding the shoreline and sandbag berm,” said RDEK Electoral Area B Stan Doehle.

“Beyond the infrastructure, there are sensitive shoreline habitats and nesting grounds along with properties that could sustain damage,” he said.

The RDEK does not have the jurisdiction to implement or enforce a no-wake or boat ban, so it is appealing to boaters to abide by the voluntary request so that the resources they have spent on sandbagging are not wasted.

“We recognize people want to get out and recreate; however, we also know they love the lake and are hoping that they will respect the short-term no-wake zone to minimize the long-term risk,” said Doehle.

The request would be for all boats to maintain speeds slow enough so as not to create a wake.

“All we can do is, as local government, act responsible and ask for a voluntary restriction,” he added.

The RDEK sandbagged and then added additional reinforcement to the Tie Lake Dam several weeks ago as the water through the spillway was above capacity. This leads to a risk of erosion, which could lead to a dam failure. In light of this, the RDEK have spent $5000 on sandbagging and reinforcing the dam that was constructed in the 1920s.

The RDEK continues to closely monitor the lake level, which peaked at 16 inches through the weir last week. The high water level continues to drop slowly, but remains at 14 inches above the season norm.

Although weather has been warm lately, the RDEK is still worried that the snow pack could cause waters to rise even further.

Due to the dam’s age, the RDEK is planning on constructing a new one this year.

After an inspection in July of 2016, several recommendations were presented to bring the dam up to the current standard.

The recommendations presented to the RDEK included raising the dam by approximately 0.6 metres to allow for 1 metre of freeboard. Secondly, widening the crest of the dam to 3.2 metres, installing a four metre spillway, installing a log boom in front of the dam, clearing the channel between the dam and Tie Lake Shore Road North, and armouring the road convert. Lastly, installing a seepage control membrane. The total cost of this project is an estimated $325,000.

Community Works Funding will cover 80 per cent of this, and the remaining 20 per cent will be paid back over five years through parcel taxes. The Service Area share will be divided between taxable parcels in the Tie Lake Water Level Control Service Area. The parcel tax is estimated to increase from $25/year to $136/year.

The RDEK is hoping to rebuild the dam in the late fall of 2017.

“Once we get it rebuilt, then things will be a lot better and we’ll be able to address the higher levels,” said Doehle.