Ghost Lake residents fear property values falling along with water levels
Water levels are six metres below normal to protect Calgary from potential flooding
Ghost Dam property owners and some boaters are concerned low water levels in the lake are threatening property values and the boating season.
The province has requested that the water level in the reservoir be kept low to protect Calgary from potential flooding.
"Because those houses are built on the lake, the property value has gone because there is no lake anymore," said Deputy Mayor Warren Wilson.
He estimates the values have dropped as much as 25 percent in the summer village, 18 km west of Cochrane on Highway 1A.
Ghost Lake reservoir has been a draw for a range of water sports for years because of its proximity to Calgary and its size, 10 km long and 1.5 km wide. The average depth in the lake is between 18 and 27 metres.
"This year we'll survive but I certainly can't do that for many more years." - Mike Weinert, owner of Ghost Lake Marina and campground.
Levels of the lake are controlled by Trans-Alta, operators of Ghost Dam.
By keeping water levels low, about 65 million cubic meters of storage are available for flood mitigation, Trans-Alta says.
"This year we'll survive but I certainly can't do that for many more years," said Mike Weinert, owner of Ghost Lake Marina and campground.
With the lake six metres below normal, there are only a few boats on the water, and they're stuck there until the province allows water levels to begin rising on July 7, he says.
"It could take two to three weeks to refill the lake, which means we won't be up to natural levels till the first of August."
The province has been tight-lipped about the long range plan for the recreation area, says deputy mayor Wilson.
"They just keep telling us it's an experimental thing, but we strongly believe that's what they're going to keep doing. they say they are going to work with us but so far they're not doing anything," he said.