I commend the Town of Innisfail in taking the initiative to develop the 2018 to 2021 Strategic Plan and to solicit public input.
Innisfail has created its plan around five pillars of sustainability: governance, culture, social, economy and environment. The overview of what is included within the environment pillar is: “Community environmental stewardship and the health, quality, diversity and abundance of local and global ecosystems, the state of the built environment and the services that support it.”
This community has two unique local ecosystems located within the municipality boundaries: Dodd’s Lake and Napoleon Lake. Both of these are water ecosystems and support many different types of waterfowl and bird life. Napoleon Lake has been designated as a bird sanctuary with no motorized boat activity allowed, however Dodd’s Lake does not have this protection.
Many different types of waterfowl, including Canada geese, numerous species of ducks, gulls and herons, use both these areas as nesting spots in the spring.
Dodd’s Lake with no motorized restrictions results in the creation of motor noise and wake from the boat activity. The wake and wave action can damage and disturb the reed areas where these waterfowl nest and raise their young. The most vulnerable times are mid- April to mid- June when the adult nests and young cannot withstand these disturbances.
I understand the past history of Dodd’s Lake with water-skiing use and the contributions to the community, but I would like to suggest that now may be the time that council review all plans that may contribute to the content of the Strategic Plan.
Many other community residents use this area for non-motorized activities – kayaking, canoeing, bird watching and just enjoying the serenity of the lake. Discussion and consideration should be given for the establishment of a Lake Use and Rules Policy or a moratorium on all motorized watercraft use during these critical nesting periods.
I have confidence with town council the reviews will be done and consideration will be given to protecting this true community gem and local ecosystem.
Don Harrison is a resident of Innisfail.