An aquatic vegetation harvester purchased by the city of Williams Lake last summer was out on the lake near Scout Island on Tuesday, Oct. 12 as city crews prepare to use it later this month.
Matt Sutherland, manager of public works, said three city staff members have qualified in small vessel operation proficiency to operate the harvester and will be training this week with a biologist.
“The biologist will be going over prevention measures in case we come across a painted turtle,” he told the Tribune.
Painted turtles have lived in the lake for many years and in June of this year new signs were erected at the entrance of Scout Island to alert visitors that turtles may be crossing the causeway.
In the coming days city crew members will spend time familiarizing themselves with driving the machine out on the water, while the actual harvesting of aquatic vegetation will begin next week as long as weather conditions are favourable, Sutherland said.
“We have from Oct. 15 until freeze up to be out there, but we don’t think it will take that long. We should be done in a couple of weeks.”
All of the harvested vegetation will be unloaded at the Scout Island boat ramp.
Last summer the city purchased the used harvester from another community, refurbished it and awaited a permit from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to use it.
Under the permit, the harvester is allowed to remove aquatic vegetation at the existing public areas of Scout Island and Dutch Point boat launches, the public beach at Scout Island and within the vicinity of the aerodrome where float planes land on the northern shore of Williams Lake near Scout Island.
The harvester is being docked at the city’s number five pump on Duncan Road.