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HOMETOWN HEROES: Committed to a healthy watershed for all

Bouchie Lake Watershed Stewardship Society hosts 3rd annual Dam Beaver Poker Paddle

Persistent lobbying efforts have paid off for the Bouchie Lake Watershed Stewardship Society, says director David Law.

This fall the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will raise the Milburn Lake Public Access level with imported gravel, hopefully preventing future flooding.

Law shared the news to a crowd gathered at the site following the third annual Dam Beaver Poker Paddle.

“In 2018, it was particularly bad,” Law told the Observer, noting two of three flooded properties received evacuation orders from the Cariboo Regional District due to their septic fields being impacted.

“It has been a serious problem in the past, and hopefully with bringing in this gravel that will prevent that from happening again.”

Law says that needs to happen with enlarging the run-off culvert in the lake, which is a larger-term project.

He has been involved with the Bouchie Lake Watershed Stewardship Society (BLWSS) for the past five years.

BLWSS, according to its mission statement, is committed to “enhance and maintain the health of the waters of Bouchie Lake, Milburn Lake and their watershed area to the benefit of all lakeshore residents and all lake users.”

For Law, that is particularly important.

“I like to care for the environment, and I’ve seen this flood every year and thought what a crying shame because it does pollute the lake,” Law said, noting it also poses a safety issue when individuals are unable to access the lake and end up parking on the road.

“The ministry is slow to move, but we’ll get there and keep plugging at it,” Law added.

At the Dam Beaver Poker Paddle, 27 canoes, kayaks and paddle boards departed from the start at Milburn Lake Public Access, supporting fundraising efforts for another picnic table.

Around $300 was raised at the event, which also featured a by-donation barbecue and iced tea. Following the presentation of the cash prizes, the remaining food and drinks contributed by Safeway and Save-On-Foods were auctioned off by Law.

Law says the long-term vision for the Milburn Lake Public Access is to further beautify the area that is increasingly becoming used, especially on hot summer days, with topsoil, shade trees and sand for a beach area. It would also include designated areas for parking, swimming and a boat launch.

”It was a fun day, and it’s nice to get out and help the projects that we’re working on to better our community,” said Richard Armstrong, a director with the BLWSS who volunteered with Saturday’s poker paddle.

Law hinted their next fundraising event could be in February with a casino night, which was well supported in the past.

The BLWSS consists of six directors and more than 70 members.

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