Yukon Energy's plan for Marsh Lake concerns residents

Water levels at Marsh Lake are 26 centimetres below flood level — and that's just where Yukon Energy would like to keep them.

Proposal would allow utility to keep water level higher

Water levels at Marsh Lake are 26 centimetres below flood level — and that's just where Yukon Energy would like to keep them.

The water is 30 centimetres higher than the level Yukon Energy is currently licensed to keep it at after Aug. 15 each year by closing gates.

But Yukon Energy would like to change its licence to be allowed to keep the water level higher. It says that storing more water in Marsh Lake will allow more water to be released during the winter, increasing electricity production at its Whitehorse plant during the months of peak demand.

Residents whose properties have been damaged in previous floods have mixed feelings about the proposal to keep the water that high.

Frank Wengzynowski has stacked about 200 sandbags on his beach in preparation for expected flood level waters later this month.

"I'm 70 years old and I got better things to do," he said.

Five years ago flood waters destroyed his house on South M'Clintock Bay.

"They had to haul it to the dump. It was sitting in the water for about three or four months."

A break wall partially protects Wengzynowski's new mobile home. Still he doesn't trust Yukon Energy's plans.

"I enjoy power, too, but there's got to be a better way."

The flood of 2007 also destroyed neighbour Don Sippel's home.

"I don't know if I want to talk about it or not," he said. "It was a pretty tough time."

Sippel said his new home is now shored up enough to withstand higher water levels.

Yukon Energy is still consulting residents on the proposal.