Dear Residents of Summerside:
We have received a few comments and questions over the last few business days regarding both a smell from the water, and the bird population on the lake. We would like to address both topics openly.
Firstly, we want to let everyone know that we are fully aware that the lake is the jewel of the RA. We are currently spending significant amounts of labor and financial resources, and are committed to doing so in the future, to make sure that our lake stays in amazing condition for years to come. With that said, we are in close communication with our contracted environmental experts, and have brought to their attention, that on various days, there seems to be a slight smell to the water that is different then previous years. The following is based on their responses to us, and our Parks Teams expertise.
- We want to remind everyone that we get our water samples from 5-6 different spots on the lake tested weekly at the U of A lab to ensure our water is completely safe to swim in. Those tests have continued to come back with excellent results this year thus far.
- An increase or change in smell is not a indication of increased pathogens in the water. According to our consultant group, pathogens are typically odorless.
- Lake smells can change yearly based on things like temperature, evaporation rates, and wind. High temperatures and some very windy days may have contributed to a smell on some days so far this year.
- This season, for the first time in years, we have got our aeration system in the lake operational. This system circulates oxygen through the lake and is very important for lake health in the future. In addition to getting it running, we will be undertaking the large task of replacing all of the underwater aerator heads to make sure this system is fully operation for years to come. However, turning this system on, after not being on for years, would have disturbed some of the sediment etc. that had fallen on top of the system. According to our consultants, at this time, they think that this is the most likely cause of a smell on some days in the lake. At this point, now that the system is operational, except for intermittent times where things need to be repaired or tested, we have been advised by our experts that we will be able to turn the system off until the swimming season is over, and run it throughout the fall to re- oxygenate the lake.
- Though well within a normal fluctuation year to year, it seems that our seagull population is a bit higher than average this season.
- Control of seagulls is difficult because they are a protected species, so we are limited in the measures we can take.
- We attempted the use of a machine that makes the sounds of various birds of prey. This was successful, but only for a few days.
- We use, and plan on increasing the frequency of use, of our bang gun to scare birds off the beach. Once again, this is only effective temporarily, and the gun can not be used at busy times in the park
- We are currently exploring the use of falconry, or drones that mimic the look and movement patterns of falcons. We will weigh the feasibility, and costs vs benefits of these options.
- We have purchased a machine to help clean up feathers along the grass. It is scheduled to arrive before the long weekend.
- We have increased the frequency of our garbage removals in the park to decrease possible food sources for birds.
As you can imagine, bird control is a very challenging process. We ask that residents help out by putting their garbage properly in the cans, and also refrain from feeding the birds.
We truly appreciate all the feedback and comments we receive. It shows how much our residents are engaged with, and care about the community and all of our amenities. We will continue to work diligently on everything that is in our control, especially when it comes to our beautiful lake, to keep it an amazing space for all of you to enjoy.