Kamaniskeg Lake resident concerned about Combermere Lodge proposed condo subdivision

Above: Township of Madawaska Valley key map re proposed plan of subdivision (application 47-T-18001) and a proposed plan of condominium (47-CD-18002)

Editor’s Note: The Current has received the following letter from a resident on Kamaniskeg Lake regarding the upcoming public meeting about the proposed subdivision and condominium plan applications from Combermere Lodge Limited. Click HERE for the Notice of Public Meeting from County of Renfrew. The lands affected by the applications for Plan of Subdivision and Plan of Condominium are part of Lots 2, 3, 4 & 5, Concession 8 & 9, geographic Township of Radcliffe, in the Township of Madawaska Valley. The Notice contains links to the relevant application documents on file at County of Renfrew. Click HERE to go directly to the documents some of which are referred to below.

There is a public meeting scheduled on October 15th, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the Combermere Community Centre regarding the proposed development at Chippawa. The timing is not the best for seasonal residents but I expect this meeting will be well attended anyway.

I would encourage those interested to review the documents published on the Renfrew County website and decide for themselves if this proposed development is good for the area.

Looking through the some of the studies I have some reservations.

Recreational capacity is a big concern of mine and many others I’ve heard from. Here is a quote from The Surface Water Impact Assessment report from Geofirma Engineering.

Recreational capacity refers to the ability of a waterbody to accommodate the various recreational users and uses that may compete for the use of surface of the lake while maintaining the recreational amenity, character and reasonable enjoyment of the waterbody. Recreational carrying capacity is a measure of the number of users that can be accommodated on the surface of a lake while maintaining the recreational amenity of the waterbody.

Here is another quote from the same study.

The result of the recreational crowding assessment for Green Lake and Labrador Lake indicated that the proposed development would result in an overcrowding of Green Lake and Labrador Lake. The future condominium corporation for Combermere Lodge should incorporate limitations or prohibitions on the use of motorized watercraft on Green Lake and Labrador Lake.

The same report indicated that Green Lake could support two additional residences. There are 16 lots in the proposed development for Labrador and Green Lakes.

As for the Madawaska River, from the same report referring to recreational crowding,

The existing shoreline development on the south shore of the Madawaska River already exceeds the threshold.

There are 21 lots proposed along the shore of a river already over capacity for recreation. The report goes on to say that it would be “inappropriate” to limit recreational boating for these 21 lots on the river, and presumably also for the residents on the other proposed 33 lots on the property because,

The Madawaska River has a considerable cultural legacy as a navigation route between the villages of Barry’s Bay and Combermere.

As reported by The Madawaska Valley Current, the developer has promised MV council that the development would preserve the tranquility of Green Lake and likely would not increase water traffic on the Madawaska River. The people that buy “Executive Estate lots”, as this development bills itself, will have boats, probably very large boats. They also tend to clear cut their lots to get a clear view of the water and their manicured lawns (the developers insist this will not happen) but that’s a topic for another day.

The Surface Water Impact Assessment also contained a Lake Capacity Assessment for Green and Labrador Lakes for the purpose of predicting the amount of additional Phosphorus that could be expected from the septic systems installed throughout the development.

It’s a lot of science that involves studying, among other things, the depth and flow of the water just below the surface. A Lake Capacity Model is used and is designed as a tool to determine how much development a particular lake can accommodate without affecting fish populations and/or altering existing aquatic plant species.  The Lake Capacity Assessment done for the proposed development was based on data provided by Golder Associates in their report Hydrogeology Investigation, Terrain Analysis and Impact Assessment.

I don’t understand much of the Hydrogeology Investigation report but I do know that ground water fluctuates seasonally. It peaks in  in the spring and is at its lowest level in the fall. The change can be several metres in some areas. Golder Associates used data from test holes they dug at the end of September 2017 to evaluate the depth, flow and direction of the ground water. This data was then used for the Lake Capacity Assesment. I would think Madawaska Valley and Renfrew County would insist on a follow up Hydrogeology Investigation conducted in the spring. The level on Kamaniskeg exceeded its normal operating range in three of the last five years during the spring freshet. In 2017 a significant area of this property was under water. Any homes not sufficiently elevated along the shore of the river would have been flooded and their septic fields compromised.

Another quote from the Geofirma Engineers report,

The Lakeshore Capacity Model was not developed to be applied to a river system or to model flowing water, such as the Madawaska River. It’s designed only for lakes, as such rivers are not represented in the model; rather they are captured in the watershed of the lake.

This entire development is in the watershed of Kamaniskeg Lake but I could not find a Lake Capacity Assessment for Kamaniskeg below Ski Island. The lake north of ski Island is deemed to be at capacity. Kamaniskeg is a designated “natural” Lake Trout lake and should require a Lake Capacity Assessment below Ski Island before any development on the Lake or its watershed is approved.

Frank Mallany

Hasting Highlands

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