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Results of Water Samples from September 21, 2023

The results of the water samples taken from 6 sites on Gun Lake, Lac La Joie, Walker Creek and Penrose Creek on September 21, 2023 as provided by Cascade Environmental Resource Group Limited are attached and their provided comments:

Please find attached, a copy of the tabulated results of the water sampling program from September 2023, post wildfire. I have also included a map of the sample locations. As you can see, all samples fall within the national and provincial guidelines for drinking water and recreation use, except for:

Sample Site #1 – exceedance for Benzene and a recorded presence of Total Xylenes – These are the byproduct of burned fuels and could be associated with the wildfire. However it should be noted that only one sample exceeded the guidelines for drinking water for Benzene and the presence of Xylenes was not an exceedance.

All samples exceeded guidelines for total coliforms and Penrose Creek (PrC-08), Lac LaJoie (LL-07) and Walker Creek(WC-09) exceeded guidelines for E-coli and fecal coliforms.

A more detailed report will follow shortly.

We are all extremely concerned about the water quality of Gun Lake and Lac LaJoie and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we await the detailed reports. Cascade Environmental has been working as quickly as they can to provide the reports on top of their already committed workload as well as the Riparian assessments for private properties as a result of the wildfire.

The GLRA has not received any of the results directly from the lab and as such we are unable to provide the raw data. We have been instructed by Kandis Lispett, Senior Environmental Emergency Response Officer (Penticton) of the BC HAZ EMERG – Environmental Emergency Program, to work with Cascade Environmental and the Xwistin Band, from whom we await reports.

For additional information and questions, we direct you to contact Cascade Environmental:

Email: info@cerg.ca

Web: www.cerg.ca

The cost of this round of full spectrum and drinking water testing is in the range of$14,000.00. It is our understanding that these tests will need to be done 2 more times, once in the Spring of 2024 and again in the Fall of 2024, to monitor the potential for run off from wildfire affected properties and crown land. We will need total funding in the range of $42,000.00. At present we have requested and have been approved for $10,000.00 from the SLRD Area A Select funds.

The Gun Lake Ratepayers Association is a member funded non-profit association who relies on yearly memberships for much of our funding. If you have not renewed your 2023-24 membership, or are not yet a member, we urge you to do so by visiting our website at https://gunlakeratepayers.ca/membership/ or email us at gunlakeratepayers@gmail.com. Our membership numbers are now more important than ever as we are trying our best to represent the area by lobbying the government for assistance and applying for funding. Please consider supporting us!

Contributions to assist in paying for this water testing would also be welcomed. We are not a charity and are unable to provide tax receipts.

Thank you,

Gun Lake Ratepayers Association


Wildfire Debris Management Process Fall 2023

On September 17 2023, GLRA sent a letter to the SLRD Board of Directors, Ministry of Environment and MLA Jackie Tegart expressing our concern about the Wildfire Debris Management process outlined in the SLRD’s September 15 Community Update. On behalf of GLRA members, we urged the SLRD to reconsider the prescribed approach and take a leadership role in coordinating the cleanup to support private property owners dealing with their losses and safeguard our drinking water source.

On September 25 2023, we received a response from Jen Ford, Chair SLRD where she offered links to a few resources at SLRD and stated that the SLRD is “committed to exploring all possible options to support our community”, and that they are “actively exploring alternative funding options that may potentially provide assistance in this matter”. Otherwise there were no specifics provided, beyond possible funding options.

On September 27 2023, GLRA responded to Ms. Ford urging them to reconsider their position and provide the support and leadership we need to move forward. We also enquired about the status of the Recovery Manager and their role in the overall recovery.

On October 4th 2023, the GLRA received a response from MLA Jackie Tegart’s office informing us that she has written to the Ministers of Emergency Management and the Environment requesting that the province allocate the necessary resources to assist or fund the cleanup efforts at Gun Lake including assisting with: Environmental Preservation, Community Welfare, Drinking Water Quality and Preserving Local Economies.

Definitely a step in the right direction and we hope that a response will be coming soon.

GLRA Letter to SLRD Regarding Oil Spill on Gun Lake & Response September 2023

September 28, 2023

Barbara Rose, Secretary

Gun Lake Ratepayers Association

Email:  gunlakeratepayers@gmail.com

Dear Barbara Rose:

Thank you for your recent emails regarding an oil slick appearing on Gun Lake.

A response officer visited the area on September 6, 2023, and noted the following observations:

  • A small amount of woody debris.
  • A small amount of substance was observed floating on the water uncharacteristic of gasoline or diesel.
  • Debris including a home heating oil tank and an outboard boat motor was observed in the water.

After obtaining the information above, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) response officer performed the following actions:

  • Researched and identified groups and people who regularly sample from the lake and nearby areas to confirm a water testing plan has been established.
  • Forwarded requested information about the re-entry guidelines, including a fact sheet developed by the Environmental Emergency Program Wildfire Task Team, to concerned citizens.
  • Emailed the environmental consultant in the area, Cascade Environmental, who are performing water testing, to request that collaboration occurs with First Nations for local knowledge input to the plan.

Upon receipt and review of the information listed above, ENV will continue to work with the Lands Manager of Xwisten and an ENV Fisheries Biologist to determine the next course of action.

Thank you again for bringing this issue and your concerns to our attention.


Kandis Lipsett

Senior Environmental Emergency Response Officer

September 24th 2023 Update

Full spectrum water testing was completed September 21 on six sites, Walker Creek, Lajoie Lake and Penrose Creek. We anticipate results by the end of the month. Thank you Candace Rose-Taylor, Dave Williamson (Cascade Environmental Resource Group) and Nick Froese (Bridge River Indian Band (Xwisten)).


Thursday, September 21, we received confirmation from Mike Carson at Interwest Timber Ltd. (ITL), that the 3-block development on Mount Zola is on hold for the time being as they focus on the fire salvage areas.

ITL has talked to the fuel management group and will coordinate with them to assist in that work as it is available in the near future.  ITL will seek community input and as that progresses.

ITL is currently identifying areas and doing block and road development at Gun Lake and Gun Creek Road/Tyaughton Lake.  They are targeting burnt timber, particularly Douglas-fir and peeler quality.

Their goal is to have Cutting Permits and Road Permits in place in October/November. The first wood to remove will be off the fire guards in both areas and that will hopefully start next week on the Tyax side.  Fire guard rehabilitation will happen in conjunction with the wood removal.

The Cutting Permit(s) hauling will start in October/November if all goes well, and it will carry into 2024.

Please address any questions you have to Mike Carson (clint-e2@telus.net) and Brieana Van Loon (brieana@interwesttimber.com

Thank you,


Water Sampling September 2023

GLRA has organized water sampling at nine sites around Gun Lake, including Walker Creek, Lajoie Lake and Penrose Creek. Cascade Environmental Resource Group along with the Bridge River Valley Indian Band (Xwisten) will take full spectrum and drinking water samples on the sites. Testing will take place on Thursday September 21 and results are expected to be received by the end of the month.

GLRA is also sourcing suppliers for silt-fencing and grass seed to support private property recovery needs. We will update once the supplies are confirmed and provide information on next steps.

Oil Spill Found at Gun Lake: A Letter to the SLRD Director of Protective Services

July 31 Fire Update

The message below is taken from a BC Wildfire Facebook Post this morning.

Today, July 31, two planned ignitions are scheduled for wildfires within the Bendor Range Complex. These ignitions will go ahead only if site and weather conditions align.This morning, a small-scale planned ignition is scheduled on the Blackhills wildfire (K71778), located 10 kilometres north of Lillooet. These ignitions will secure containment lines in the southeast corner, between the West Pavillion Road and the ridge of Camelshoof Peak. Smoke from this planned ignition will be visible to travelers along Highway 99 north of Lillooet.In the next few days, a large scale planned ignition is scheduled for the Downton Lake wildfire (K71649), located 10 kilometres west of Gold Bridge. These ignitions will occur east of the fire between heavy machine guard, upslope from Downton Lake and into the Mount Penrose drainage to tie in with the existing fire perimeter. These ignitions will be visible to Gun Lake, Gold Bridge and surrounding areas.

The first priority with these operations is always safety. Planned ignitions must provide for the safety of personnel, the public, equipment and nearby values. Large-scale burn operations are supported with appropriate resources, such as aircraft, heavy equipment and firefighters.Watch how the BC Wildfire Service strategizes planned ignition operations when responding to wildfires: https://youtu.be/qOAVqdNCcbQ
Click here to read the full newsletter sent by Sal DeMare

July 30 Fire Update

July 26 Fire Update

Click here to read the fire updates for the Bendor Range Complex. Downton (Penrose) Fire is below.

Evacuation Alert Notice