Due to arsenic levels above new provincial standards in Well #2, as determined in 2018, and concerns with groundwater under direct influence of surface water (GUDI), the community water system operated as hygienic use only for 2019 and 2020. The Reserve Fund for Community Water has been depleted to complete the engineering studies. A financial commitment by subscribers will be required to re-establish the Reserve Fund to an acceptable level. A public information meeting for all Crystal Lake residents was held in August, 2020 with Charles Goss of WSP Consulting explaining the impacts of the current studies and future options for water sources and treatment systems. Representatives of the Water Security Agency were also in attendance to answer questions and provide guidance. The result of the meeting was for the Hamlet Board to develop and provide a survey of peoples’ desires of the current and any future water system to serve Crystal Lake. The results of the Community Water Survey will be posted shortly.
The 2020 Work Plan was submitted to Council March 31, 2020. It is posted on the hamlet web site under the Hamlet Board Business tab. Voters are encouraged to review and comment on the Work Plan to best reflect the priorities for Crystal Lake and to help set direction for 2021.
We don’t have Brad Tarras on the Board anymore to do his annual rant about what goes into garbage, what goes into recycling and what goes to our local landfill. Biggest complaint is that furniture and building supplies DO NOT go into our garbage bins. They must go to the Preeceville landfill, part of the Parkland Regional Waste Management Authority. Crystal Lake, through the RM of Keys, is a member and the fees are very nominal. For recycling, the types of acceptable items vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. There are posters on each blue bin listing what does and does not get recycled. Please follow those listings as unacceptable items are costly to sort out and dirty items can contaminate a lot of other acceptable items. In the recycling world, “If in Doubt, Throw it Out”. And, Flatten those Boxes!
The RM has passed a new Election Bylaw which now includes the option for all eligible voters to vote via mail-in ballots. To participate voters must register in person at the RM Office in Canora. Note, that for RM elections, eligible voters do not have to be permanent residents of Crystal Lake or even live in Saskatchewan. Eligible voters must be:
1) a Canadian citizen;
2) at least 18 years old; and
3) and only ONE of:
– a registered owner of property in the RM (name on the title); or
– the spouse of a registered owner as described above; or
– a permanent resident in the RM for the three consecutive months prior to the election
In some instances, where there is multiple ownership of a residence, there may be 6, 7, 8 or even more eligible voters, especially where multiple family members share in the ownership. The next RM election is November 9, 2020 for the Reeve position. To participate in the mail-in ballot, you must register prior to the Advance Poll and in adequate time to mail out, receive, and return the mail-in ballot by Election Day.
All Crystal Lake residents are reminded that the hamlet web site www.hamletofcrystallake.ca is the official means of communication for the hamlet. If you have not already, go to the web site and register your email. Only valid residents are permitted as this is a closed web site to property owners only. You will then get automatic reminders whenever there is a new posting. The web site is free of any advertising or any topic not posted by the Hamlet Board. It is official business only.
A method is in place for any individual or group who has a project idea to submit their application detailing the project. The application is reviewed for relevance to Crystal Lake and the impacts on how it will benefit the residents. Financial and other assistance may be available. Funds have been budgeted for new projects.
The Hamlet Board submitted their draft of a Provision of Services Agreement on March 31, 2020. This Agreement, once agreed to and signed by the RM and the Hamlet Board, will specify what services the RM will provide to Crystal Lake and any and all financial arrangements between the RM and the Hamlet. The Hamlet Board and RM are currently in dispute over some of the financial arrangements instituted by the RM at the objection of the Hamlet Board. Thus, no Agreement has been finalized and signed.
The Resort Village Feasibility Study, being carried out by the Planning Committee, has been put on hold. There are two key requirements for Resort Villages, permanent population and total assessment, for which Crystal lake does not satisfy. Even though the intent was simply a study to assess feasibility of Crystal Lake pursuing Resort Village status, these shortcomings make the concept not feasible at this time. The Study may be re-initiated if/when we are closer to those two requirements.
The re-paving of Lakeview Drive, Beach Crescent and the boat launch was completed in early October, 2019 by G. W. Construction of Buchanan. Shortly thereafter, the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure approved the re-paving from Highway #9 to the Y or the forks where the SaskTel building and cell tower are located. This has been a very pleasant improvement for travel around Crystal Lake.
A new application of gravel was applied in summer, 2020. The product packed and levelled very well and generally served well to control dust. As a result, the decision was made not to apply the traditional dust control product. There have been a few spots where there is heavy traffic or construction has occurred where the gravel has loosened and there have been some dust issues. In the future, for years when dust control may not be applied, an amount of dust control product will be kept on hand to address problem spots for dust.
Winter Road Maintenance – Winter road maintenance (snow clearing) is a dual process within the Organized Hamlet of Crystal Lake (OH). The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (MHI) is responsible for its portion consisting of the access road from Number 9 Highway and a portion of Lakeview Drive around the south end of the lake (ending near 48 Lakeview Dr). The Crystal Lake Hamlet Board (HB) is responsible for the remainder of Lakeview Drive and all the interior roads within the OH.
The MHI maintains its portion of the road with highway-based snow clearing equipment at no charge to the OH. This section of road is very well maintained due to the frequency of clearing and the quality of equipment. For practical reasons the highways portion of Lakeview Drive is often cleared up to the junction with the Tadmore access road. Unfortunately, a request for Highways to maintain all of Lakeview Drive was declined.
The remainder of Lakeview Drive and all the internal roads are the responsibility of the Organized Hamlet. The HB has budgeted approximately $9000.00 annually for all road maintenance; this includes repairs, gravel, dust control and snow removal. Annual expenditures in 2018 and 2019 met or slightly exceeded the budgeted amount.
Snow removal in the OH is conducted by a local farmer under contract. The equipment used is a large tractor and front-mounted blade. Unfortunately, this equipment is not capable of maintaining the road to the same standard as the MHI equipment.
Road conditions in the winter of 2019/20 were problematic; early in the winter rain created very icy conditions and MHI sanding equipment was brought in. Then, frequent minor snowfalls allowed for the creation of a thick layer of packed snow and ice. When spring came this packed snow softened and then froze allowing ruts to form. The RM grader was brought in to remove this buildup. This machine was not entirely suitable for clearing a paved road as the cleats caused some damage.
In light of the less than satisfactory road condition last winter, the HB will be increasing its road maintenance budget and improving its snow clearing practices. The local operator has been very good at responding when needed and will be retained for the following winter. The frequency of road clearing will be increased with a properly equipped grader brought in to deal with major snowfalls or packed snow/ice. As well, arrangements will be made for sanding equipment to be brought in as needed.
Hamlet Board member Brad Tokaruk (306-540-4257) will remain as the contact regarding snow removal. The HB is looking forward to better road conditions this winter.
In 2019 the relay event was coordinated by Sheila Hobday with great participation in the relays, horseshoes (coordinated by the Steinkes) and volleyball (coordinated by the Tarras and Eveleigh couples). Lots of others pitched in to volunteer where it was needed. Unfortunately, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to all such sporting events where there are large public gatherings. The Boat Parade on Sunday evening was amazing with some real creativity shown in the themes and decorations. The fireworks Sunday night were really something to see! Hopefully 2021 will see a revival of the special weekend. And maybe this break will give time to think of new or additional events.
As most Crystal Lake ratepayers will know, there is a water control structure at the north end of the lake. This structure was re-built in 1999 and allows limited control of the lake level. As most people will also know, there have been issues with managing the lake level and associated issues with the control structure. Lake levels are affected by spring runoff, rainfall throughout the summer and evaporation. Crystal Lake being spring fed and isolated from any incoming rivers or creeks is not subject to extreme water level fluctuations.
The water control structure consists of a metal culvert which is approximately 100 metre long (60 mm or 2 foot diameter) which connects Crystal Lake to the Lily pond. Halfway along this culvert is a stop log type water control structure. This stop log structure allows the water to be maintained or released by adding or removing stop logs.
The lake level or full supply level (FSL) is dictated by the provincial government and delegated to Water Security Agency (WSA). This level is established at 493.05 metres above seal level. The Hamlet Board (HB) has no authority to intentionally maintain a higher level, nor a lower level. Historically the lake level is highest in the spring and stop log(s) are removed so the lake will drain until FSL is reached. The guideline is to have the lake level stabilized at the FSL by July 1st of each year.
Note: The HB retained the services of a legal surveyor (Altus Group) in spring 2020 to determine the elevations of the system. It was determined that the elevation of the stop logs and culverts is essentially correct, the structure has not shifted or settled significantly.
This spring, lake levels were high (approximately one foot above FSL) and this caused some shoreline erosion. Attempts to lower the lake was impeded this spring was impeded by beaver activity and sand infiltration into the culvert.
Beaver dams were preventing the flow of water from the lily pond into the existing creek system which allows water to reach the Assiniboine River. This caused the level of the lily pond to rise therefore limiting flow from the lake itself. These dams had to be removed on multiple occasions
Secondly, there was significant sand built up inside the culvert, impeding flow. This sand build-up has occurred in the past and requires a vacuum truck to remove the sand within the culvert, thus allowing the free flow of water. The HB applied for an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit which is required to alter the bed, bank or boundary of any water body. Unfortunately, communication issues resulted in the work being completed before the permit was issued. The HB was issued a ‘Warning of Non-Compliance’ letter for conducting work near a waterbody without the required permit. The HB will reapply for a 5-year permit to enable future work to be conducted and ensure all regulations are followed.
Issue 1 Beaver Dams Restricting Flow of Water
Beavers activity has been a longstanding concern and the HB has an annual budget item to deal with this issue. A trapper/blaster is periodically brought in to remove beaver dams and to control the beaver population in the lake, lily pond and creek.
Issue 2 – Sand Infiltrating the Culvert
The culvert itself is a relatively small diameter, compared to the size of the lake, and must be working efficiently in order to effectively manage lake levels. If there are any impediments, the flow can be greatly reduced or even prevented. Sand can readily enter the culvert due to wave action and waterflow and impeding water flow.
The HB has been in discussions with the WSA and a private engineering consulting firm requesting advice as to how to reduce or eliminate the sand infiltration. WSA does not provide engineering services to third parties and therefore has not been able to provide any advice.
Issue 3 – Beach Erosion Near the Culvert
The installation of the water control culvert is suspected of causing significant beach erosion in front of at least 5 cabins situated immediately to the west of the culvert. This has been a longstanding concern for these cabin owners and the HB recognizes the issue. Past discussions with the WSA resulted in five options being proposed.
Bring in sand to re-establish beach and install a breakwater
Construct barriers extending into the water (groynes) west of the eroded area to capture sand
Shorten the culvert
Lower the culvert
Reverse the boat direction
As a number of these recommendation would require heavy equipment with its associated cost, the HB is pursuing professional engineering advice as to which option would be most effective. Again, WSA declined to offer engineering advice, even though the water control structure was designed and constructed by a section in SaskWater, which now is part of the WSA. Further work is required for professional engineering advice and designs.
The Crystal Lake Fire Department consists of volunteers from the lake. This Fire Department operates seasonally from May to October, under the umbrella of the Sturgis and District Fire Cooperative. After experiencing the effectiveness and importance of the Crystal Lake Fire Department, the Hamlet Board has dedicated funds to upgrade and add to the existing equipment the Fire Department has available to the fire fighters. Brad Tarras, retired professional firefighter from the Calgary Fire Department is the Chief of the Crystal Lake Fire Department and Ken Pugh is the Deputy Chief. But, if you see or have a fire, do not personally call any of the local firefighters, call 911. The 911 system is very effective in gathering the required information and quickly dispatching the proper fire fighting unit(s).