A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Quebec Lakes Closed For No Good Reason
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Lakes around Quebec are safer than the Government cares to admitYear after year the stuffed shirts in Quebec City basically wrap our Lakes with yellow police tape saying there are dangerous levels of blue green algae and we have to stay out of the water. But are these closures justified? Maybe the quality of the Lake isn't so bad after all?

A sudden media frenzy around the closing of lakes due to blue green algae followed by Government officials promising action and firm measures to stop the percieved worsening state of Quebec lakes is focusing attention again on our Brome Lake. The beach on Lakeside is fairly quiet; there are people picnicing on the beach but no-one is going in the water because the Government has declared that entering the water poses a serious health risk!

But just how serious is the risk? It seems that now, with a little digging, the owner of the Knowlton Marina, Gerry Moar has revealed data shows that the water in the lake is actually hardly dangerous at all! Here is the complete letter sent by Gerry to news media and DK:

RE: CYANOBACTERIA : BROME LAKE CLOSED FOR NO REASON

I’m the marina owner on Brome Lake who refused to post the government caution signs for Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) until the government would send me the test results confirming the presence of toxin dangers to human health.

I finally received the results on July 30th, for the June 27th, 2007 tests and the results from August 17, 2006 (when Brome Lake was closed) to October 18th, 2006, this being the last time the government took tests before they lifted the closure in May, 2007. (Brome Lake was closed for 8 ½ months). The government claims they could not take tests during the winter.

Following are the essentials:
Brome Lake is used for recreational purposes only. The town has its own water well supply as do other residents. The provincial maximum levels of toxins for drinking are 1.5 parts per million, and 16 parts per million for recreational (swimming) use.

All the tests results are available, but following is a summary for 2006:

Plage Douglass
16 October 2006: Toxins: Less than .019 ppm
18 September 2006: Toxins: Less than .034 ppm
17 August 2006: Toxins: Less than .567 ppm

The level for drinking is 1.5 ppm. The level for swimming it is 16ppm.

The samples are similar for all areas in Brome Lake.

In 2007, when Brome Lake went on the list of “contaminated” lakes, test results for all areas of the lake totaled less than .11 ppm.

In summary, Brome Lake was closed in 2006 for no justified reason according to provincial government lab test results. In 2007, Brome Lake was placed on the list for no justifiable reason.

I guarantee for the most recent lake closure, the results will be the same. I know the government will wave the “protecting the public health” flag, but for low long and with what justification?

Regards,

Gerry Moar
Proprietor, Marina Knowlton

WOW! That letter is a bombshell!

The water in Brome Lake is almost drinkable yet the lake is closed! While the Quebec government says it may bring in regulations to stop the spread of blue-green algae in the province's lakes it is downplaying the magnitude of this summer's cyanobacteria outbreaks...and maybe they should re-think their policies before shutting down lakes left and right. They are talking out both sides of their mouths saying the problem is serious yet then saying that the problem isn't actually so bad.

As Mr. Moar stated, they wouldn't close down an entire city just because of a few smoggy days so why close down the entire lake because some beaurocratic statistician in a lab coat takes a water sample and finds a little higher than normal levels of a natural bacteria? It doesn't make sense, and the new data revealed in Moar's letter shows just how arbitrary and heavy-handed these "experts" can be.

Now the Liberals are beating their chests saying they are getting serious about the problem...yeah...and what have you done for us these last five years? I guess the media attention is forcing them to pretend they will be getting tough...but if the levels of cyanobacteria in the lakes of Quebec are as low as what this new data shows then this whole issue is almost a non-issue.

Why not just let people know that there may be health risks if they go into the water instead of closing the entire lake? Doesn't this Government also sell cigarettes on every corner? Sure they put warnings on the cigarette packs but idiots can still smoke 'em if they want! So why, when it comes to a benign potential risk, do they swoop in like storm troopers and ban anyone from putting a toe in the lake?

My answer would be that they are incompetant ninnies.

The devestating financial damage caused by closed beavches and marinas and parks is catastrohpic for our small communities. And what's worse is that now we find out that Brome Lake isn't soo bad after all and we're dumping over $150,000 into some engineering firms pocket to come up with a solution...but now, if it is revealed that there is no problem...can we get our money back?

Teknika HBA couldn't even present their "action plan" on schedule and we don't even know when they will actually reveal this sacred document but when you combine this waste of money with the inability of the government to act responsibly it all starts to stink like bloated carcasses in the Yamaska! Due to the bogus closures by the Government and alarmist posturing by officials towns like Knowlton are wasting precious tax dollars on plans because everyone has been convinced that the sky is falling.

Maybe it's time to accept the risks that are inherent with a planet that is becoming over-populated. If you live in a city your lungs will be pummeled by toxic fumes from traffic and if you swim in a lake in 2007 you may run the risk of catching something...big deal...we can assess our own level of risk taking can't we? With increasing populations and increased polutions maybe there is nothing that can be done but is anyone brave enough to admit that? Maybe these algae blooms are natures way of fighting back, like when an anti-virus attacks a disease?

Environment Minister Line Beauchamp said possible new restrictions could target farmers, residential septic tanks and may include lakeshore buffer zones. Greenpeace was bashing the farmers of the province but Beauchamp said she would not take action immediately. First, she wants to tour the regions affected by the toxic algae to consider all the causes. It has been stated that she will miss the big meeting on August 14th when Renaissance Lac Brome holds another big information session in Knowlton.


Previous Stories Regarding the Lake Dangerous Cyanobacteria Closes Brome Lake | Brome Lake Announces Lake Plan | Is Teknika Missing The Boat | Brome Lake Announces Lake Plan | Teknika Report Delayed Again | Renaissance Lac Brome Annual Meeting

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