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The Englishman River

The Englishman River is the main water source for the City of Parksville and its neighbours in the Regional District of Nanaimo.  Climate change, logging and development adjacent to the river have caused problems with the amount of water available to citizens in the summer months, interrupted the annual migration of salmon from the Salish Sea, and contribute to annual flooding events.  Biologists call the Englishman River "broken".

Further development will exacerbate these problems and could cause many more such as an increased need to store raw water and the fragmentation of an important wildlife corridor.  Additionally, adding 1500 residents to the site will further degrade trails that are currently overused.

The Englishman River is protected from development in several places including the estuary (protected by Nature Trust), Englishman River Regional Park (protected by RDN), and Englishman River Falls Provincial Park (protected by BC Parks).  The Englishman River along the 1465 Greig Road property represents a critical link between parks for both wildlife and people, and a vital habitat for fish, yet it is unprotected and vulnerable to development.

Englishman River at Greig Road, Oct. 2022.  Low river conditions with pockets of deep water
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IArrowsmith Lake October 4, 2022  - Usual height of the lake is at the treeline

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The Englishman River receives water from rain, snowpack and water stored in Arrowsmith Lake.  The lake is dammed to provide drinking water to Parksville and other communities during the dry months of the summer.  The provincial water license requires water to be managed so that 1.4-1.6 cubic metres of water flow through the river (as measured below the drinking water intake at Top Bridge) in order that the river have enough water to support fish migration.  Parksville's draw on the river for drinking water has meant that in the summer months the City is not meeting its provincial licensing requirements for flow in the river.  


Today, in October 2022, the river is perilously low and fish are waiting in the ocean for the rain that will allow them to progress up the river to their spawning grounds, some of which are in the Greig Road corridor.   We simply cannot add development when we are short water that supports federally protected fish.

Arrowsmith Lake Dam. Water level at dam wall.  No water is flowing from the lake. October 4, 2022

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