Denis Potter honoured as he steps down from board of Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society

By on June 5, 2017

Birgit Arnstein (left), president of the Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society (OLWQS), presents a photograph of Osoyoos Lake by Paul Eby to Denis Potter, who is retiring from OLWQS’s board after many years. (Neil Bousquet photo)

It’s more than fitting that Denis Potter received a beautiful photograph of Osoyoos Lake as he announced last week that he’s stepping down as a board member with the Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society (OLWQS).

The photograph, produced by well-known Okanagan Valley artist Paul Eby, was presented to Potter following the OLQWS annual general meeting last Thursday evening as Potter announced his retirement from the organization after 23 years of committed volunteer service.

“I’m going to remain a member, but I will be stepping down from the board,” said Potter. “I’m going to be 79 when my next birthday arrives and I just felt the time was right to step back and let a few younger people step forward.”

Potter moved to Osoyoos from Burnaby way back in 1967 and enjoyed a rewarding 33-year teaching career in Osoyoos and Oliver before retiring in 1995.

“I came up for one year and I never left,” he said smiling. “If decided this was a very good place to live and work and I have never wanted to leave.”

Looking for an opportunity to do volunteer community work after his retirement as a teacher, Potter was informed about the OLQWS, which had just been formed by founder Lionel Dallas, and he joined as a volunteer member.

“I was interested in volunteering and read about this organization, so I went out on the boat with Lionel and a few other members and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I’ve been a member ever since.”

The main job of the OLQWS is to take water samples to ensure water quality on Lake Osoyoos is maintained, but also to educate the public about the importance of water quality by holding workshops and sharing information through the media, he said.

Contrary to what many might believe, the water quality in Osoyoos Lake has remained consistently strong over the past two decades, he said.

“I really don’t think it’s changed too much in all the years I’ve been involved,” he said. “to me, the water quality is as good today as it’s ever been and that dates all the way back to 1967, because I’ve kept a close eye on the lake from the day I first moved here.

“The only place there has been a change is along Lakeshore (Drive), where the boats are constantly stirring up sediment and mud. If you go out in the middle of the lake are along the other shorelines surrounding the lake, the water quality is still pretty great.”

The introduction of Eurasian milfoil has been a problem in Osoyoos Lake – and dozens of other lakes across British Columbia, said Potter.

“But milfoil doesn’t effect water quality in any way,” he said. “If feeds off the mud from the bottom of the lake.”

The OLQWS has a lot of longtime members and he and other members are always trying to encourage younger people to join, said Potter.

“We need some younger blood,” he said. “We always need more volunteers and we need some younger people to join the group.”

Receiving the photo and commemorative plaque for his years of service was a big, but pleasant surprise, he said.

“The photo is beautiful and shows the head of the lake from Oroville all the way north,” he said. “It’s was a wonderful going away present.”

OLQWS president Birgit Arnstein said Potter has been a committed and dedicated board member and his endless hours of volunteer work have been greatly appreciated for more than two decades.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

Denis Potter, who is retiring from the board of the Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society after many years, shows the photograph of Osoyoos Lake by Paul Eby that he received in appreciation for his long-time dedication. (Neil Bousquet photo)

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