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.