At their Oct. 1 meeting, the City of Castlegar Transportation and Civic Works Committee noted that construction for the Millennium Ponds project has now begun.
Major earthmoving work on the recreational facility will continue until either river levels or inclement weather halt progress and is expected to be completed this fall.
With a budget in excess of $1.5 million, the project has drawn a wide range of opinions from residents and council members. Many support the upgrades to the park amenities while others are adamant that nature will have its way with the ponds as a result of high water, effectively making it unusable during such events.
Chris Barlow, director of public works and transportation, said during a Special Meeting of city council on July 3 that flooding was evaluated and a “decision point” on the project moving forward.
“It is a one-off project, it is in an environmentally sensitive area and it is a high profile project for the city,” said Barlow. “There’s a lot of engineering that has gone into it and a lot of approvals have gone into it and some of the cost increases that have gone into it have been things like archaeological assessments , environmental monitoring and well as some of the construction costs that were higher than anticipated than when the bids came in. As we’ve figured out more and more of what is required on this project, the budget has come along with it.”
In addition to soccer fields, walking trails and exercise equipment, Millennium Park is also expected to see the creation of a mountain bike skills park, which the Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails is working towards creating with the help of sponsors and the city. Creation of that addition, estimated to be around three-acres, must still work through fundraising, maintenance and other issues.