Creston resident pleased to see CVWMA dike reopened

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To the Editor:

This will be my last letter regarding the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA). Hopefully in the future nobody will have to deal with its incompetence and money wasting.

I really do not see any further need for the CVWMA. The birds have learned to fly, the turtles have caught on how to dig their own hibernation holes, the leaves on the trees coume out in spring, mostly on schedule, and fall off when it gets cold. All the nesting areas have been closed off to the public for years. The only area that had vehicle access is Duck Lake and when this is closed, what is there left to do? The CVWMA sure riles up the service clubs and residents of the valley — it’s been a long time since one organization has ticked off so many people in such a short time.

I had been told a number of times over the past month that the dike would be open in a couple of days. Then came the excuses: It was a major repair and the dike needed time to dry, the engineer said not to open it, and the mandate of Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is to close all dikes.

I couldn’t take it anymore so I went to the Wildlife Interpretation Centre, handed out flyers and told the tourists they should be going to the true wildlife centre, Duck Lake. It was actually kind of funny because of the number of kids who didn’t want to go to the wildlife centre but wanted to go to Duck Lake instead. Then I told them about all the hiking they would have to do, and that ended that. After a couple of hours, a CVWMA employee suggested I look at the repairs.

I rode a bicycle out to the repairs, and was horrified by the sheer incompetence. There was no reason to even touch the bit of water on the dike; this was a low spot that had some standing water on it. All the water in the lake was doing was rising; it wasn’t going to rip any holes in the dike as the water was not coursing, causing erosion. In fact, every year the water comes within inches of going over the dike and it has never been a problem before. There are potholes on the road that are deeper and should be of more concern.

I cannot think of many ways to deal with the water on the dike that could be less effective and cost more than the CVWMA approach: run gravel trucks through the still soft start of the dike, where they could possibly get stuck; run the loaded gravel trucks over the area that, in that in their mind, was about to collapse; use the wrong material to fix the dike; and put concrete blocks up, effectively cutting off the dikes.

While the dike was closed for no good reason, tourists showed up for their holidays to fish Duck Lake, only to find it closed with no explanation. Retailers, did you realize that for over a month the CVWMA has been chasing tourists away and probably many will never come back? In addition to the wasted CVWMA money and the lost tourist dollars and future dollars, we are talking a significant amount of money lost, perhaps $100,000.

DUC, are you willing to work with the valley? Do you plan to shut down Duck Lake like the CVWMA is telling people? I know you have a plan to get kids off the computer and out fishing. If you do plan on closing Duck Lake, I can only assume you think our kids are too outdoorsy already and they need more video game time.

Don Melnychuk

Creston