A resident of the Village of Alix suggested the municipality look into stocking the similarly named nearby body of water with fish.
The resident’s proposal for Alix Lake was presented to village council at their regular meeting Oct. 5.
Mayor Rob Fehr presented Alix resident Tyson Beebe’s letter during the correspondence section of the agenda. Beebe and Fehr has discussed the idea of stocking Alix Lake with fish.
“Being an election year, I had a question for you,” stated Beebe’s initial email dated Sept. 14. “As a youngster growing up five minutes to the east of town I recall Alix Lake having excellent rainbow trout fishing opportunities, currently the fishing regulations are saying that there is northern pike in there which as I’m sure you are aware there isn’t. I believe the lake is completely dead of fish, to my knowledge, anyways.
“I’m sure this question has come up before, but why can’t we make the lake back into a fishing lake, whether it be trout or pike (preferably trout).
“Even if the town had to sink some money into infrastructure such as aeration and fish stocking, I believe that year-round the town would benefit from this (financially with) food, tackle, gas etc.”
Fehr responded by agreeing it’s a great idea, but financial cost and safety risk factors have to be taken into account.
“Being an avid fisherman myself, I understand where you’re coming from,” stated Fehr in his response.
“I asked questions as well about the history of the lake and learned the following:
“Fish and Game stocked it every spring with rainbow trout. Due to its depth, winter kill would cause these species to last until mid to late Dec., which at that point, they were netted.
“Aeration was utilized off and on for a number of years with no change. At one point whitefish and pike were introduced from Parlby Creek with poor results.
“Open ice was caused in some areas due to aeration being utilized. Apparently, this concerned a number of citizens and user groups, as they were concerned about personal safety on the lake in the wintertime.
“In speaking to Fish and Game in 2011 they indicated to me they have no plans restocking the lake,” stated Mayor Fehr.
“On top of that the biologist I spoke to a year or so later suggested it likely wouldn’t be feasible either. While I would love to see fish in that lake it would be a rather expensive endeavour if Fish and Game isn’t on board,” added the mayor.
Contacted Oct. 12 by the ECA Review, Government of Alberta spokesperson Tim Kulak stated, “Requests to stock a pond or lake can be directed to Alberta Environment and Parks. Upon receiving a request, an Environment and Parks fisheries biologist will assess the waterbody to determine if it is a suitable habitat for fish.
“For ponds with restricted public access, the owner would need to apply for an aquaculture licence and pay for fish from a licensed commercial supplier.
“For ponds and lakes with public access, fish may be sourced for free through either the Alberta Conservation Association’s Enhanced Fish Stocking Program or through the provincial fish culture system operated by Environment and Parks.
“If fish are not available through these sources, a fish stocking licence may be issued by Environment and Parks to allow the owner to purchase fish from a licensed commercial supplier.”
Contacted Oct. 7 CAO White stated a fish stocking program run by the village would likely mean a hike in property taxes to pay for it.
“The Village of Alix has budget departments for Parks and Recreation,” her email stated. “These portions of the budget are funded primarily through general municipal taxes.
“If operating budget expenses increase, municipal taxes would need to increase to cover those costs or service levels would need to be cut in other departments to offset the extra expense.”
Beebe responded thusly: “Maybe we should look into the cost of such an endeavour and take into consideration the positive outcomes that this type of recreation would bring to the town.
“The open ice thing is always a problem and seems to get to be more of an issue as big government tries to continue to bubble wrap society.
“I, as well as my fellow neighbours would love to see fish put in there. I hope you will push for this opportunity and take serious consideration into seeing what can be accomplished.”
Councillors discussed the idea. It was mentioned some aeration infrastructure at other lakes requires substantial labour to keep it clear of vegetation.
Mayor Fehr repeated his concerns about expense and safety. “It’s just not feasible,” said Fehr.
Councillors accepted the letter as information.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter