Millennium Ponds grand opening announced

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

It may be said they’re about to turn on the tap, open the flood gates… or whatever. The City of Castlegar is splashing the news of the Millennium Ponds grand opening across the media, and why not? This week has seen weather as hot as it’s been in the past several years and and opening day of Monday, August 4… BC Day, will probably be a good time to consider a refreshing dip at Millennium Park.

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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