Letters to the Editor: March 2

Disappointed in decision to decommission the Idlewild Dam

As a daily visitor to Idlewild Peace Park I was disappointed to hear the news that City Council has decided to decommission the dam and drain the lake.

Perhaps what disappoints me most is how such a significant discussion was had behind closed doors.

Mayor Pratt’s Monday night announcement on the decision and the press release the following day did not mention the likelihood of the dam to fail. Is this level of closed-door secrecy a preview of how the new Mayor and Council intend to arrive at Cranbrook’s contentious decisions to avoid the democratic process?

If high consequence dams are to be inspected annually does the City have a report by MFLNRO recommending immediate decommissioning? The Information Package for the Five-Year Financial Plan certainly did not provide any indications that an engineering project to this magnitude was on the radar. The City has allocated $660,000 of the Reserve Fund to “Idlewild [sic] Lake dredging/dam repair” yet with a $2.5 million price tag estimated for the project I can’t help but wonder how long the lake will be left as a trickle if the City is relying on city groups and the RDEK for the remaining money?

As a park visitor, I feel the benefits assigned to preserving the lake have been under-valued. I want to know what the Urban Systems 2014 report presented as other options for the dam’s future and how City Council selected this route as the most reasonable plan.

If this was not an easy choice for Mayor Pratt and Council, and our views are valued, can the city provide us with more information before draining the lake?

Laura Branswell/Cranbrook