From Loon Lake Road – Lakeside regulations bog down simple repairs

Barbara Hendricks' monthly column about life and community news in Loon Lake.

A rose by another other name

When was Loon Lake valley moved into the rain forest I would like to know? The green is intense and really quite lovely but is it still the same Loon Lake? June is known to be a rainy month but I am sure we have exceeded most records this month. The pine trees have put on long growth candles; some look to be almost 30 cm long and are quite lovely as the raindrops sparkle from the needles.

One of the benefits of country living is the fresh air and this month we have been treated to special “air fresheners” as well; with the lovely scent of the lilacs followed by the most delicate and delightful scent of the wild roses coming in on the evening breeze. In my yard there is another perfume that comes from the foliage of a heritage yellow rose that has been growing here since at least the 1950’s. My mother had the bush in her garden and I have kept it going. It is an unusual rose as it has a very distinct and pleasant perfume from the leaves which is especially noticeable in June just after a rainfall. Many call it Harrison’s yellow but I do not think it is. In many ways the rose resembles more a Persian yellow, with round ball buds but the literature on roses I have consulted indicates that, while Persian Yellow has pleasantly scented leaves, its blossoms are to have an unpleasant scent – which is not the case with this rose, at least to my nose. This rose is likely to be also in many other local gardens and if anyone knows about its history and ancestry I would be glad to hear from you.

Wildlife on parade

Nature is out in full glory here at Loon Lake. It is the season for all kinds of bothersome things on wings and eight legs – flies, spiders, mosquitoes and ants – all seem to want my blood. It is fun to watch the cats sitting still, watching the mosquito buzz around them and then snapping at the critter and eating it.

Doe deer are now with their fawns and will be extremely aggressive in protecting their little ones; so do watch your dogs and cats and keep them close. The bucks with their new antler growth wrapped in velvet and well on the way for fall display are still quite cheeky about browsing the gardens and picking the best flowers to dine on.

Dogs preferred

Residents of Loon Lake Road are remarkable for their care for their pets and their livestock – at least most of them are; and many homes have at least one rescue pet found abandoned along the road. They know that taking in a pet is a lifelong commitment to provide care and attention. In this past month one well known dog died of old age.

The dog has been known for 10 years or more to most residents as the “dump” dog, as that was where it used to hang out most days looking for companionship and comfort. Other times it was in the middle of Loon Lake Road in the vicinity of the transfer station. It did have an owner, however it was usually on the road, at the transfer station or in someone else’s yard.

The dog was gentle and friendly with all people and animals. Many residents became fond of it and were concerned about it. Four and a half years ago the dog settled in with a neighbour. The owner family was contacted several times and asked to pick the dog up, however it kept returning to the neighbour.

So the neighbour decided to care for the dog rather than get the SPCA involved. They gave the dog the shelter, companionship and the care that it needed. This kept it off the road most of the time, however the dog still regularly took a walk down to visit the transfer station when it was open. Somehow its inner calendar told it when it was Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Some residents would stop by to find out how the dog was doing and drop off a toy, some treats, a bone or food supplements. One resident, with experience in training dogs, spent some time working with the dog to train some manners around the food dish and general obedience. Those who cared for it could see it was failing in the last several months and a number of families pitched in and helped with caring for the dog in the last week. When the dog died, neighbours expressed their sympathies with the care giver family.

Then, for the first time in over four years the former owners contacted the caregiver – to complain that they had not received the attention and consideration they felt they were entitled to when “their dog” died. On the other hand they had not given consideration to the dog, or to the vet bills, medicines, special food or anything else relating to the care of the dog, which was paid for by the caregiver. Episodes like this explain why it is easier to love a dog than to “love thy neighbour”; and why the SPCA refers to those who have pets as “guardians” rather than “owners”.

Lakeside maintenance and repair becoming onerous

The lakeside residential property owners along Loon Lake Road are following carefully the case of Shuswap Lake regarding docks on the lake, both in terms of non-waterfront property owners using public access for a private dock and in terms of the requirement that a dock owner get a permit to repair their dock.

I have briefly skimmed the Water Act and the section 9 requirements and as far as I can see it is a form of notification of maintenance or repair that must be filed at least 45 days before maintenance work on a dock begins and there is no cost for this. I fail to understand why the government is pushing this when staff of Front Office BC already has far too much to do and is understaffed.

On line, the BC government page on the Water Act has good suggestions on how to avoid damaging the water environment and I think this kind of information should be emphasized and leave off the need for more filing of papers and forms.

I was however surprised and concerned by the definition of a stream in the Water Act. It reads: “a natural watercourse or source of water supply, whether usually containing water or not, and a lake, river, creek, spring, ravine, swamp and gulch.”

If permission is needed every time a private landowner does some work in a ravine or gulch or where a spring once ran, ranchers and farmers would never be able to get on with their work. Other industries using public lands, such as logging companies, mining and mineral exploration are exempted from the rules and requirements set out in the Act. No question we need to take care of our water and everyone has to do their bit.

Happy Canada Day everyone!

Barbara Hendricks