The dam rehabilitation at Idlewild Lake is practically finished and now attention is beginning to shift to park amenities.

The dam rehabilitation at Idlewild Lake is practically finished and now attention is beginning to shift to park amenities.

Focus shifts to amenities at Idlewild Park

With dam rehabilitation practically finished, city staff are getting ready to tackle park upgrades.

With dam construction complete at Idlewild Lake, the city is continuing to move forward with plans to upgrade the surrounding park in partnership with local service organizations and businesses.

In an report to city council from David Kim, the Chief Administration Officer, said the dam construction itself is complete and now the focus is turning to the planned amenities for the area.

Groups that have stepped forward so far include Western Financial Group, Cranbrook Firefighters Association, Tyee Log Homes, BC Hydro, JCI Kootenays, Lions Club, Gyro Club and Rotary Club, College of the Rockies and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.

The update included a list of projects that are on schedule to be completed by the summer. Those amenities include fishing docks, a replacement pier, a family picnic pavilion, an accessible trail system and riparian enhancements such as fish habitat structures and education projects.

According to Chris New, the Director of Leisure Services, two of the bigger projects — a new washroom and a new playground — may be deferred to later in the summer to allow more time for an archaeological study of the southern area.

“Basically the playground and the washroom will be deferred,” New said, “but we’re not ripping out the other ones, so at least we have something usable — usable and flushable on the north side and the usable playground.”

A family pavilion at the top of the tobogganing hill will be in place, while fishing docks and a timber frame structure for the water is ordered and on the way.

Other amenities could be announced over the coming weeks and months with help from partners, New added.

In addition to the dam and the planned amenities, the city has also been working to improve Joseph Creek on two fronts.

The Infrastructure Planning and Delivery department has been working on design projects to mitigate flooding along the creek.

Also, the city is working with the Blue Lake Forest Education Society to restore the Joseph Creek watershed and manage the waterways.

During the same meeting, city councillors also approved the submission of a grant application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Climate and Asset Management Network that would study the three major watersheds in the region: Joseph Creek, Jim Smith Creek and Hospital Creek.

The study will focus primarily on the the capacity of city’s waterways and how the urban stream channels and pipe infrastructure handle high-intensity rainfalls and snowfalls.

A staff report says the city has aging storm water infrastructure and reduced capacity creek channels, but need to further study is the timing and volume of runoff events from separate watersheds.

“What we want to do is do a complete study, clean it up where it should have been done before instead of just piecemeal-ed together,” said Mayor Lee Pratt, “and we know there’s problem areas that have to be dealt with so we decided to do a study on the whole creek and do the stormwater management the way it should be done and not just for today or tomorrow but have a long range vision.”

The grant would only cover the study; once that is complete, then further grants would have to be pursued to do any work, should council decide to move forward with any recommendations.