Idlewild Lake

Idlewild Lake

Cranbrook council wrestles with swimming at Idlewild Lake

City staff is still looking into the possibilities of having a public swim area at the lake.

  • Dec. 9, 2016 4:00 p.m.

Trevor Crawley

A master plan for Idlewild Park has been approved by city council at a meeting earlier this week, however, staff is still looking into the possibilities of having a public swim area at the lake.

Chris New, the Leisure Services director, said the consultants who prepared the final report feel that a swimming area doesn’t fit with the plan.

“We’ve talked about it a couple times through the public sessions with swimming,” said New. “There are things; it’s an active dam so we have to have a dam safety plan, there are potential water issues, whether it fits with the other types of uses in the park…there are other things we’d have to explore.”

New said the most likely spot for a swimming would be the upper side of the lake where the creek flows in — the opposite side of where the dam is.

However, there are concerns beyond the swimming.

“My personal concern is if we had a hot day, we could have hundreds of people trying to go there,” said New. “Remember it’d be just that chunk of the upper cell and we if we want those things like riparian enhancements and fishing and want the disability access to nice trails, want the weddings…my personal opinion is it’s not a great fit.”

Both Councillors Tom Shypitka and Ron Popoff lent their voices in support of exploring swimming options, if possible, at the lake.

“I just don’t like staff writing off the options that this can be used for some sort of water recreation and I didn’t really get that sense in this report,” said Popoff. “I think it needs to be looked at and for all the good reasons that you listed on why it may not be a good idea, I think there are other good technical reasons why it would still be a good idea to have some sort of water recreation.”

Councillor Norma Blissett noted that the feedback received during the open houses seemed to indicate the public wanted it kept natural.

“My feeling from attending some of the events, is most people really wanted it kept as a natural area as much as possible,” Blissett said, “and really valued a more natural area. I think that was the prime value and I think that’s what’s been expressed in the master plan and I don’t think a lot of water recreational use is consistent with that.

“It’s not a large enough area to accommodate both and I think the idea of improving accessibility, walking tours, picnic facilities…I think that’s been addressed and I don’t think I want the staff to pursue more on swimming opportunities at this time.”

Councillor Isaac Hockley said there was plenty of feedback on what to do with Idlewild Park that ranged from surveys to a Facebook page — Make Idlewild Great Again — which was administered by The Choice.

“I’d love to have a beach and swimming but when you look at people’s input on this, the majority of what I’ve seen was exactly what Councillor Blissett said,” Hockley added.

The master plan encompasses the redevelopment of the park following the construction of a new dam on Idlewild Lake that replaced an old failing structure.

A few amenities include things like expanded picnic areas on both sides of the lake, a natural amphitheatre, upgraded playgrounds and washrooms.

A disc golf course will also be installed which came after positive feedback from high school students, New said.

“We did do some reach out to the high school, that’s actually where we found extremely strong support for disc golf,” said New, “which was in our plan as an unobtrusive new activity for the younger age group to complement other family-friendly activities.

“But I had no idea, it was like two-thirds of the class were up at the college on the disc golf course.”

The five-year plan is more of a guideline than a hard policy document, but it will be used in the context of upcoming budget consultations.

The city received a $2.8 million federal gas tax grant in 2015, with $2.2 going towards the reconstruction of the dam. The remainder will be used for the park upgrades, which the city is hoping to partner with local organizations and non-profit groups.

During the same council meeting, Chief Administrative Officer David Kim said the dam construction is nearly complete. Most of the concrete and earth work is finished and the reservoir is expected to be filled before the end of the month.

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read