Looking to raise $250,000 for Oyama canal dredging

Published on August 5, 2023 by David Wylie

Watercraft in the Oyama canalPhoto: Contributed
Boaters pass through the Oyama canal.

A community group is trying to revive an effort to dredge the Oyama canal, which connects Wood and Kalamalka Lakes.

The 180-metre-long canal slices through the Oyama Isthmus.

It was first dredged in 1908.

“The canal facilitates navigation between the two lakes by pleasure craft operators and mitigates flooding risks. It also allows emergency response (via boat) to access Kalamalka Lake by launching from Wood Lake,” says the newly formed Oyama Canal FAR Management Society on its GoFundMe.

They hope to raise $250,000. About $8,000 has been pledged so far ( Aug. 5, 2023), including a $5,000 donation from Wood Lake RV Park and Marina.

Oyama canal last dredged three decades ago

It was last dredged in 1994. Sediment build-up since then has made the canal hazardous to use and completely unpassable at times when the water level becomes low, says the society.

“Not only is it hazardous for the pleasure craft operators navigating the canal, but the emergency response time (via boat) to a situation on the South end of Kalamalka Lake is significantly impacted when they are unable to access the quickest access to Kalamalka Lake via the Oyama Canal and the Wood Lake boat launch.”

The society was formed to make necessary applications, raise funds, and undertake the work of dredging the canal to restore its function as a navigable waterway.

It will also be responsible for ongoing monitoring and maintenance.

The funds raised will be used to pay for professional services (environmental assessment, dredging plan, sediment sampling, etc), signage and buoys, and to undertake the dredging work, it says.