Lee Patterson, TBL councillor

After a long winter, it’s great to be able to enjoy the beauty of the town’s major asset, Brome Lake. Residents of the Town of Brome Lake use the resource in different ways. Some lake shore residents simply enjoy the view. Others use the lake for activities such as swimming, sailing, water skiing, fishing or boating. Not all use it the same way, but we can agree that a healthy lake is good for all of us.

We are unfortunately off to a rough summer. Many are pointing fingers rather than working together to ensure we have a clean and healthy lake. Some blame boaters for waves that contribute to the eroding of the shoreline. Brome Lake has one of the largest shoreline protection zones in Canada at 150 metres. The Canadian average is 15 metres. But of course, not all boaters respect the protected zone.

Then there are some shoreline property owners that don’t follow the regulations about keeping the vegetation on the water’s edge in place. This allows sediments and phosphorus particles to make their way to the lake. These particles contribute to the pea soup effect we sometimes get on the water. We have also observed some land owners dumping piles of leaves in the lake during the fall clean up, another action that is not healthy for our community resource.

We must not forget those who own houses that have their sump pumps connected to the town’s sewer system. This increases the volume of water that must be transported to the sewer treatment plant and when the system overflows, the waste water is sent into our rivers and lakes, rather than overflow into peoples’ basements. The town has taken steps to limit as much as possible the sewer over flow, but some incidents still occur due to water that should be diverted on the landowner’s property.

How about residents near the lake that are on a septic system? Are all these installations up to provincial standards? A poorly installed septic system can be a major source of phosphorus in the lake.

The good news is that all is not lost! One of the parameters used to determine the quality of the lake is the visibility measured with specialized tools. According to Renaissance Lac-Brome data, the quality of the lake has been improving over the last decade.

However, it can still continue to improve if we stop pointing fingers and work together to keep our lake healthy.