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Monday's the day to dunk

Against a backdrop of the iconic Lion
Against a backdrop of the iconic Lion's Head, the ponds are pictured in the foreground.
— image credit: Jim Sinclair

The best known cure for scorching hot weather is being sprung by The City of Castlegar with what looks for all the world like a signature civic asset in the making.

The timing could hardly be better as a prolonged heat wave has been the lead in to Monday's (August 4) official grand opening – The Castlegar Splash.

The ponds project came about as part of the Millennium Park Masterplan, itself part of the civic Official Community Plan process back in 2011. The public consultation component had identified a public swimming amenity as something that would go over big, and city council and staff obviously took those wishes to heart.

Mayor Lawrence Chernoff pointed out that it was director of civic works Chris Barlow who had come up with the idea, and on whose suggestion the concept had been introduced to the public. The public, in turn, appeared to have gotten on the bandwagon in a big way.

The past several years have seen a trend in the city toward more culture and recreation and it’s easy to see the appeal of such a shift.

The price tag for the massive landscaping effort amounted to about $1.6 million, which the mayor said was on budget.

Reached by phone on July 8, Mayor Chernoff was full of excited superlatives on the topic of the pools.

“It kind of evolved by itself,” he said, “and for the community I think this is the greatest thing ever – an opportunity to take your family down there… and the kids and adults can have a great time. The view is spectacular and with the Rotary picnic area coming… I think we’re going to have a great place.”

The city, not known for letting any special event go uncelebrated, has a suitable amount of hoopla on the August 4 grand opening agenda. Dubbing the facility a ‘Premier Regional Destination Park,’ organizers have lined up a slate of activities and attractions to run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. With hundreds of rubber duckies in the kids’ pond, there will be festive ambience spawned by music and food vendors… and an official plaque unveiling at 11:30. Lawn chairs and beach towels are recommended.

Need a beach ball? This might be your big chance.

“It’ll really bring a community together,” the mayor enthused about the water park, “…our community especially.”

Weighing in on the topic, and being every bit as upbeat about it was Councillor Dan Rye.

“I think it’s pretty exciting for Castlegar and area just becuase we have no actual beach area,” said Rye. “This is a beautiful area, the setting is fantastic and people are excited about it.”

The member of Castlegar City Council sees the buzz continuing at the municipal oasis. “Millennium Park is where you’re going to see things expand even more,” concluded Rye. “It started with the Rotary gym project. Now with the ponds and the Rotary picnic shelters, not to mention the bike park on the way... it’s all good news stuff down there.”

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