Posted on 15 February 2011 by admin
OSOYOOS TIMES-February 16, 2011
By Paul Everest – Osoyoos Times
A hibernating painted turtle has forced all work on the lagoon phase of the Lions Park Marina project to come to a standstill.
Greyback Construction, which was awarded a tender to carry out dredging and construction of a perimeter wall at the lagoon, began to pump water out of the lagoon and clear brush from its shores during the last week of January.
On Feb. 5, however, a hibernating turtle was found in a net by Dwayne Crashley, a site supervisor for Greyback Construction, and a representative of Vernon-based Summit Environmental Consultants, which is monitoring the work at the lagoon.
Crashley said the turtle had been hibernating roughly 45 centimetres underground before it was found and it was Summit Environmental that made the call to stop all work at the lagoon.
The turtle is on British Columbia’s Blue List, meaning it is protected under the provincial Wildlife Act.
Because of its protected status, work on the lagoon has been shut down for at least five weeks.
“We have been advised by our environmental engineers that we will have to wait until the turtles come out of hibernation at the end of March,” said Barry Romanko, the Town of Osoyoos’s chief administrative officer.
Although work on the dredging and perimeter wall phase of the project was supposed to be completed by the end of March, federal and provincial environmental agencies have given the Town permission to extend the timeline for lagoon construction, Romanko said.
Work will resume in April and May.
Crashley said workers had just finished pumping the last of the water out of the lagoon when the turtle was found and dredging work was expected to begin on Feb. 7.
For now, all the workers can do is clean up around the site and try to come up with a plan B, he added, as no work can be done until the turtles awake.
Romanko said the delay will mean workers will have to replace a silt fence at the lagoon because the current fence will not be adequate to handle an increase in water depth that will result when the water level of Osoyoos Lake is raised this spring.
Painted turtles can be found throughout southern B.C. including the Okanagan Valley.
They like to live in ponds, marshes, small lakes, ditches and sluggish streams, usually with muddy bottoms and a large number of aquatic plants.
They are included in B.C.’s Blue List because of threats to their habitat and because they only live in certain places.
The Town is now looking for a company to design and build the marina’s docks and boat slips.
Proposals will be accepted until Feb. 22 and Romanko said work on the slips will begin in June.
A section of Spartan Drive between the Lake Osoyoos Sailing Club and Lions Park that was closed to accommodate construction will remain closed while the work is stopped because a demarcation fence between the road and the lagoon has been removed.