Rocky View County (RVC) will hear a presentation on Feb. 21 from MacDonald Communities on the state of its Cochrane Lake Revitalization Plan.
The motion to hear the update was brought forward by Mayor Crystal Kissel and Div. 7 Coun. Al Schule at last Tuesday’s council meeting. According to the motion, which was accepted unanimously by council, MacDonald Communities wants to report on the progress it has made in the past six years to try to help the lake move from being considered “hazardous to human health” due to its accumulation of prolific algae, solids, and nutrients.
The lake currently has no flowing outlets to move water through it and flush out these accumulations naturally.
“Over the past six years, MacDonald Communities has been working with Rocky View County residents, Rocky View County administration, Alberta Environment and Parks, Sedulous Engineering Inc, Spirogyra Scientific, and Stormwater Solutions inc. to develop a plan to improve the lake water quality and to prevent future flooding so that surrounding neighbourhoods, residents of Rocky View County and surrounding municipalities could enjoy recreational opportunities in and around the lake,” the motion reads in part.
The motion comes after Alberta Health Services issued blue-green algae advisories for Cochrane Lake in both 2021 and 2022, after the heavy build-up of cyanobacteria near the shoreline. The advisories urged residents of the community and visitors to avoid skin-to-water contact and not to consume fish caught from the lake.
According to the Cochrane Lake Conceptual Plan, MacDonald is hoping to transform the lake into a significant amenity for local residents to enjoy beyond what it is currently. The entire design for the community going forward is centred around premium lake access with properties abutting it, a centralized marina for sailing and other forms of unpowered boating, and a full walkway around the lake.
Kissel, when asked the purpose of MacDonald’s presentation at the Sept. 21 meeting, said the developer is expected to report success in its negotiations with the province on its plans to make the lake safe and transform it into a premium recreational amenity as envisioned – and to identify its next steps forward from here.