Whitewater Recreation

There has been a lot of interest and questions regarding paddling, kayaking, surfing and general whitewater types of recreation in connection with this project. I did not answer each of the questions that have come through individually – instead I thought I would address it here. Although not a paddler of any sort I can certainly understand the attraction of using this heritage river and all of it’s surrounding beauty and to want to ‘play’ in it.

This project and the associated grant from the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF) is targeted towards the improvement of environmental/fish flows and doesn’t have the mandate to design integrated whitewater recreational features. This work is to inform the eventual water license holder who would also become the owner and operator of the new weir. This ownership entity is still unknown. Quite frankly, we are not even sure an integrated water feature would be feasible given the hydraulics, landforms and land ownership issues in this immediate area. Having said that, a feasibility study could be taken on (by others) and could take into consideration our current preliminary design and it’s hydraulic outputs. Perhaps there is opportunity to consider something immediately downstream of the weir or even further downstream throughout the entire reach of the river. People with expertise in this area of study would need to evaluate those different scenarios.

The whole notion of another form of recreation is important in my estimation, however it needs to be brought forward in a planful way and start fitting into strategic plans for local communities such as the CVRD and the Town of Lake Cowichan. Strategic plans usually look ahead 5 or more years and these new ideas need to be integrated into those systems for long term support and success.

I certainly appreciate your energy and enthusiasm and coming forward with such a strong and cohesive voice. I suggest keep your agenda moving forward by integrating your ideas into the local governments planning processes.

Skutz Falls – Nov 2020

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