Public meeting on Killarney Lake aeration project well attended


The chance to see how a stagnant lake could be gently revived with fresh air drew a good crowd to a community meeting held this week.

Killarney Lake Action Committee (KLAC) chair Rick Korman was impressed and pleasantly surprised by the number of people who showed up to hear about the committee’s plan to aerate the lake this summer.

Over 75 people attended the public forum on Tuesday night at the Shamrock Centre, and already fundraising is flying.

Betty Sawatsky, who’s heading up the fundraising for the KLAC project, said donations are coming in fast and furious for the aeration field.

The committee believes that cleaner, clearer, and safer water at Killarney Lake could be achieved by invigorating the lake with air. It’s achieving results in nearby Pelican Lake, which is approximately 13 times larger than Killarney Lake.

So this summer the group, along with support from experienced Pelican Lake members, will be installing a series of 58 bubbler heads in Killarney Lake.

“Killarney Lake is just under 500 acres, and we are putting the bubbler heads in around 20 feet of water,” said the chair of KLAC, Rick Korman. “Fifty-eight heads is the goal.”

The bubbler heads, in the shape of a figure eight, and made of permeable black membrane, will gently emit air bubbles into the lower level of the lake bed, fed through pressure lines running from an electrical pump house that will be built on municipal property at the water treatment plant.

“We are basically encouraging the lake to heal itself,” said Korman. “There is an anaerobic level of organic matter and inactivity at the bottom of the lake, and we know that is where the problem largely lies. We are using the research and the information from the Pelican Lake project, and so we have a very good idea of the way this system should look. All we are doing is kick-starting nature.”

KLAC was happy the public had a chance to look at how the idea of bubbling oxygen into the lake could help rejuvenate it.

The public forum featured a slide show, a bubbler head gurgling away in a tank of water, and the chance to ask questions, and chat with committee members.

“The reason for the forum was to allow people to come out and get the correct information, and be able to ask us questions,” said Korman. “We wanted to explain the project to the public. There are concerns coming from the community, such as the impact of the project, what will it look like, and costs of the project. We wanted to address all those concerns.”

Pictures and photos of the Pelican Lake project were also on display, showing how bubblers in that lake, plagued by algae, allowed marine life to reignite in the oxygenated zones.

If you like the idea – and the bubbler heads – you can even buy one.

KLAC needs to raise funds in order to pay for the project, which is estimated to cost $85,000. They came up with the idea of sponsoring the bubbler heads to jumpstart the movement.

You can buy a bubbler head for $200, and the committee is coming up with different sponsorship categories too, as much larger donations have started to roll in.

KLAC member Betty Sawatsky can be contacted at 204-726-3410 for more information on sponsoring the project.

Cheques can be made out to the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain, with Killarney Lake Action Committee in the memo space. A tax-deductible donation receipt will be issued.

Enjoying the world of beer is another fun way to support the project.

On Thursday, March 29, the Blarney Stone will be hosting a Beer Tasting event, and funds from that hops-infused evening will also go towards the KLAC aeration project.

Korman added that as the project approaches its start date of this summer, more people have been getting involved with the committee, and local businesses and tradespeople are already signing up to help build the pump house, install the electrics, and to donate materials.

“We are growing, and our members are increasing,” he said. “The biggest piece of equipment we need will be the electrical component to run the pump house.”

One thing is for certain; the community is starting to feel bubbly about the chance to help clear up the lake with aeration.

BREAK OUT THE BUBBLY – This Google Earth image, with aeration lines drawn in by the KLAC, shows the committee’s proposed aeration field in Killarney Lake. The bubbler heads on the end of the lines would be positioned approximately 100 feet apart, originating from a pump house at the water treatment plant.


AERATION INFORMATION – KLAC chair Rick Korman addresses the large crowd that turned out for Tuesday’s public meeting on the aeration project. He’s holding a bubbler head, which can be sponsored for $200, and that’s just one of the ways to financially support the project. Call Betty Sawatsky at 204-726-3401 for more information on sponsorship.