Sproat Lake Water Stewards

Sproat Lake Water Stewards

Early on the first Saturday of October, a small group of likeminded “lakers” set off from Sproat Lake’s Fish and Duck marina, bound for Two Rivers Inlet.

Summer or year-round, ‘lakers’ share a common interest

The annual beach cleanup — a short cruise down the 25-kilometre lake aboard a houseboat — is a volunteer pitch-in by residents that marks the end of summer. This is a chance to get out on the water with friends and neighbours, show a little community spirit and keep the lake beautiful while enjoying “beaches, burgers and a beer.”

Most tourists and summertime residents have gone home, leaving year-round lakers to enjoy quieter seasons at the lake, surrounded by a vivid fall panorama. Big leaf maples turn the shoreline a fiery yellow, a striking contrast against azure blue waters. The air is cool, crisp and clear of haze.

Sproat Lake Water Stewards

Lakers, some arriving in their own boats, take advantage of the hiatus to ensure the waste some leave behind doesn’t erode the qualities of life they’ve grown to appreciate.

“Last year wasn’t so bad,” said Rene Lacoursiere. “It’s getting to seem like people are becoming more aware.”

They pride themselves on being water stewards, the same values reflected over the years in local conservation efforts and community initiatives such as Sproat Lake Marine Patrol.  Based during summer at Sproat Lake Provincial Park, the patrol is dedicated to keeping the lake safe and clean.

With more people wanting a place at the lake, an official community plan was adopted in 2005 that recommended a halt to “ribbon residential development” around the lakeshore in favour of compact developments and improved public access to the waterfront. A referendum allowed community association fees to be collected with regional taxes, providing financial resources for the SLCA to assume a more active role in activities such as water quality monitoring.

The association plays an active hand in local life, recently updating the community hall with the addition of new windows and a modern kitchen. The hall reopened in late September with a fresh coat of paint.

With multi-family residential developments expected to attract more young families to the lake, and more seniors opting to “age in place,” the community expects growth to continue. They hope to see more services to support that in coming years.

“All things point to public transit being made available in the future,” Penny Cote said.

“It’s a great community,” Cote continued. “Lots of friendly people and we share the lake, and we are water stewards.”

Written by Mike Youds, at the Valley Vibe. Port Alberni’s fast growing community and online magazine. The passion here at the Valley Vibe is to showcase the beautiful of our valley for all who live here, and travel through. Working together with many talented writers, we at the Valley Vibe love to explore, discover and uncover secret jewels about Port Alberni and Sproat Lake.
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