Look what I caught!

Harry Prosser, Chairman of the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program for One Island Lake and Park Facility Operator for BC Parks sent us this series of photographs.

Trent Ernst, Editor

Earlier this winter, a truck went through the ice at One Island Lake. On February 19, they were finally able to get a crew out to remove the truck.

Prosser was there to monitor whether there was any environmental damage, and watched the proceedings with fascination. He says they looked into bringing up commercial divers to dive into the frozen lake to attach cables, but the nearest divers they could find were out of Victoria “It would be a thousand dollars per diver, and they would have needed three.”

Instead, says Prosser, they came up with an ingenious solution.

First, they spent about a week flooding the area to make sure the ice was thick enough. Then, once they were ready, they cut a hole in the ice. Then, once it was evening, they lowered a light down into the water to illuminate the back end of the truck. Then, they went fishing, lowering a cable down to the truck and finally snagging the tow hitch on the back bumper.

The next morning they raised the truck out of the water, a process in and of itself. While they were able to get the truck’s back end out easily enough, the front end proved more problematic, as once the truck got far enough out of the water, the pipe that was being used to lift the truck bent. But with some creative techniques, they were finally able to get the truck out of the ice.

Prosser says that, while the ice was thick enough to support the weight of the vehicle, the weight of the snow on top of the ice caused the ice to sag, creating a bowl. Liquid water was able to pool between the layer of ice and snow, adding to the total weight, which proved to be too much for the ice to hold.

The Ministry of Environment would like to remind the public that the owner of the vehicle is responsible for any costs associated with the removal and cleanup.

·The owner or driver is required to report the incident as a spill to the Spill Reporting Line (1-800-663-3456) as soon as possible.

·There is no three-day grace period. The timing for removal varies from case to case and depends on a number of factors including the type of vehicle involved, whether it was carrying cargo, local weather conditions, and the environmental sensitivity of the lake.

·The owner, or ICBC should be consulting with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) to determine a plan to remove the vehicle safely and in a way that minimizes further environmental damage.

·In cases like this, the Ministry of Environment balances the potential for further damage to the environment against the safety risk to salvage crews attempting to remove the vehicle.

·In terms of fines or deterrents: the owner can be fined under the Environmental Management Act depending on the extent of impact to the environment. The province may also recover costs from the owner if a provincial environmental emergency response is needed.