Many changes are occurring within the Lake Country local government organization and to the way the District does business. However, notwithstanding the difficult times we are going through, I actually have something positive to talk to you about, milestones achieved in moving towards our goal of creating a more liveable community with vibrant and environmentally friendly transportation networks. A few projects that you've heard about in this blog, the news media and from Mayor Baker and Council in the last few months are now in the works or are completed.

The Lodge Road Lift station upgrade is now complete. The upgrade increases capacity for liquid waste collected from all of Lake Country including the Clearwater subdivision, Woodsdale Road and the Lakes. This project was strategically scheduled to ensure it was completed before the Lodge Road transportation corridor upgrades started.

Speaking of which, the tender closes on May 10th for the Lodge Road transportation corridor project, which will improve safety for pedestrians and help connect neighbourhoods to schools. Once the tender is awarded, the construction will start as soon as school finishes for the year. That means an intense period of work during the summer, so the project can be for the most part complete when the kids go back to school in September.

Recognizing that there will be disruptions to the traffic flow and inconveniences during the construction period this summer, the contractor will be giving all residents updates so that alternate travel routes can be planned and people are made aware of what is happening at each stage of the project. The safety improvements planned within this project were recognized by ICBC, and as a result they are contributing $102,000 towards this $1.5 million project. We are also thrilled to be receiving $146,000 from BC Transit to include bus shelters and pullouts along Lodge Road.

If you weren't able to attend the Open House on April 11th, and you'd like a better understanding of what the roundabout at the intersection of Bottom Wood Lake Road and Lodge Road will look like, or what the concept is for the separated sidewalk and pedestrian bridge over Vernon Creek, drawings of the project are available for viewing right now in Municipal Hall and on the District of Lake Country website.

Our goal for Lake Country is to develop and implement an Integrated Transportation Framework. Basically, this is a project that looks at all modes of transportation in Lake Country, not just vehicle traffic. It promotes liveability and good health, connects neighbourhoods to schools and parks, includes multi-modal transportation options for transit and accessibility and makes transportation convenient, easy to use and barrier free. The key theme of an Integrated Transportation Framework is: sustainable service delivery and active transportation. So anytime work is done on infrastructure renewal we consider making active transportation improvements. And you will hear more about this in the weeks to come as the details are finalized on renewal projects on Trask Road, and on Camp Road to address issues of resurfacing, ditching and pedestrian pathways.

On another note, focusing on some essential and fundamental targets in the area of water quality, safety, and well maintained infrastructure, the Kalamalka Lake Interconnect project will bring significant improvements to water quality for all water customers in Oyama. This $5 million project includes a new reservoir and chlorination system at the Oyama Lake intake, the installation of a UV treatment system at the existing Kalamalka Lake Pumphouse, and a new booster station at Sawmill Road. Construction is set to begin this spring and to be completed in the spring of 2013. With this new infrastructure in place, we will be able to supply customers that currently receive water from Oyama Lake source with treated water from the Kalamalka Lake source. This will much improve ongoing issues with system reliability, capacity and water quality experienced by customers on the Oyama Lake system, and will enable us to remove the current permanent boil water notice.

Speaking of water, the spring melt is underway and we continue to monitor our lakes and creeks for potential risks associated with run-off. Run-off has progressed in a steady fashion and for the lower elevations is mostly complete. The upper watersheds (above Oyama and Beaver Lakes) are melting now. Risk of flooding is low. At the same time, our upper lakes are full, indicating a robust supply of water available to carry us through the irrigation season.

Seasonal run-off can impact water quality. Customers supplied by the Beaver and Oyama Lake sources may notice elevated colour, which is considered normal for this time of year. Water turbidity (cloudiness) has been slightly elevated at times, but remains within an acceptable range.

We are of course at the mercy of Mother Nature a change in the weather could impact water quality and flood risk. At this time, however, the news is good.