Lake Country’s Approach to a Greener Tomorrow: The District of Lake Country’s Hydro Dam Project

Urban Planners often take into consideration the importance of spatial concerns; often these environmental concerns are directly correlated to the city’s design. Aspects like public works, and the city layout are designed to address the immediate environmental concerns. The initiatives that each city takes on are issues that are directly correlation in the municipal area.  During a shift in the twentieth century, urban planners began to look deeper into environmental sustainability. This shift can be seen in sanctuary creation and more environmentally friendly projects within the urban design. This year, the District of Lake Country, a merging of Winfield, Oyama, and Carrslanding turned twenty. The District’s primary goal was to promote a more environmentally friendly region with the introduction of initiatives like wild-life reservations, and the recently completed hydro dam.  The turbine generator project for the district was first envisioned a century ago with the creation of the first irrigation system to supply water to Okanagan orchards.

Lake Country’s water originated from reservoirs at high elevations, a hydro generation system was feasible.  Due to the seasonal instability of water flow, and the lack of financial support, the idea did not receive support until the twenty-first century.  In 2003, efforts were initiated to create a hydro dam with further government funding and technology.  In composed urban plans, in the nineteenth-century, financial concerns are put forward as an obstacle in practical implementation.  Major concerns around the project was the risk involved in investing in such a large plan.  Stakeholders had initially shown concern that the project was too high risk. Upon approaching the water service advisory commission, Utility Manager Jack Allingham, from the district returned with a diplomatic response of ten against at one for it. Despite the negative response, the council in Lake Country pushed for the project and provided a unanimous vote; the project cost four million dollars.  Despite this large price tag, the District of Lake Country received a significant subsidization; “a two million dollar grant from the federal Gas Tax and another half a million through the Community Works Fund”, and “The remainder of the capital was covered through low interest municipal loans and a 10 year production grant from Natural Resources Canada”.  It was predicted that the financial return would provide enough financial support to pay off these small loans.  Along with initiatives to pay for the dam project, the district created a fund that would direct the Dam’s profits to future green initiatives.  The District expects profits to be able to contribute four-point-five million dollars to this fund over the next twenty years.  This August, the micro turbine is able to provide electricity to four-hundred inhabitants in Lake Country.  This project, now twelve-year-old hydro dam project in Lake Country, reinforces that modern urban planners have shifted from a singular approach to public works to more dual perspective.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, you can watch the embedded video:




“An Old Idea Gets New Life: District of Lake Country’s Turbine Generator.” BC Climate Action Toolkit. Accessed November 28, 2015.

5 thoughts on “Lake Country’s Approach to a Greener Tomorrow: The District of Lake Country’s Hydro Dam Project

  1. From my experience of driving through Lake Country every single day I noticed that the planning is fairly inconsistent. First, the highway separate the shopping center from the living space notable in Winfield. Furthermore, the strip mall is falling apart and is hard to access if you are coming from the north direction. One positive aspect of the new highway is the complete by-pas of Oyama, although, didn’t that new road affect the little local economy that relied on by-passer to survive (im thinking the cafe, the bazar and the fruit market). Connor have some good points, and an insight on a perspective that the general public may not notice at first glance. It is interesting to see that such good planning, on some aspect of Lake Country’s development can be met by other aspect so poorly designed.

  2. You are absolutely accurate when you mention that there is poor design and inconsistency with urban design in the District. I could not agree more when you mention that “the highway separate the shopping center from the living space notable in Winfield. Furthermore, the strip mall is falling apart and is hard to access if you are coming from the north direction”. The district has been in a long term struggle of providing inter-connectivity to these far reach communities. A lot of these aspects that you bring up are structures built prior to the formation of the district. Urban planners are now essentially having to work backwards as they have to recreate the image of the region. So far, the District has created a vision and philosophy. They still have a great deal of work to do before these philosophies have tangibility.

  3. There is always the risk that such a massive mega=project would fail to meet the required financial and social requirements for long-term operational service. Would you say that the Lake Country’s hydro-dam water plant could be used as a model for future urban planning operations in other European nations?

  4. As mentioned in the blog post, and in the referenced article, these financial issues that you bring up caused the hydro project to be halted until later years. It wasn’t until the government offered to subsidize for the project that it was able to be envisioned. As for your question about it being a model, I think holistically the idea of taking a public work and utilizing it to be dual purpose (such as the hydro dam) is an excellent model. I read in an article earlier this year of a proposal to build solar power roads to be used in smaller towns. I think the main reason that these systems are not yet put into place is basically due to the financial requirements. In speaking in longevity terms, these projects are extremely beneficial. However when it comes to breaking ground, it takes a hefty “wad” of cash.

  5. I totally agree with everyone else here. Lake Country seems like it could be such a nice area but most of the time i mistake it Winfield. There seems to be no distinction and it seems to be hard to access as well as a little bit run done. I do not see how Lake Country can afford to put this plan into affect, unless it is funded by the government or a private investor. Then what are the repercussions of that though. The land would have to be sold and not allowed to be used for anything else?? But on the other hand, it might put Lake Country on the map. It is a really big toss up, for me.

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