Rossland’s Centre Star Gulch reservoir should be available for swimming, some city councillors feel. Photo: Chelsea Novak

Open reservoir to swimming, Rossland councillor urges

Stewart Spooner thinks residents should be able to cool off without driving somewhere.

  • Jul. 30, 2021 12:00 a.m.

By Greg Nesteroff

Rosslanders should be able to cool off with a dip in the Centre Star Gulch reservoir, one councillor says.

Stewart Spooner has asked that city staff take another look at the issue, which has previously been raised.

“I don’t feel good about people driving up the highway to swim in Nancy Greene Lake on a hot day,” he said. “It’s incompatible with our standards. I want somewhere I can go to swim where I can walk or ride my bike.”

Spooner said from his brief discussions with staff, a number of operational and regulatory hurdles need to be addressed before the reservoir can be turned into a swimming hole, but he wants the issue explored.

Coun. Terry Miller agreed. “If there’s any practical way we can make this happen, it would be a huge step forward in the quality of life around here,” he said.

Coun. Janis Nightingale pointed out the Rossland pool is within walking distance for most, but Stewart responded that its hours are limited. (It’s open for public swimming for a few hours each afternoon Tuesday through Saturday.)

Stewart said the outstanding issues include what Interior Health will allow and what risks are covered by the city’s insurance provider. “I think we can do something simple and affordable, but we need to resolve those broader questions,” he said. “Then we can have a more substantive discussion about what we want to see and pay for.”

Council referred the request to city staff.

In 2015, ISL Engineering completed a feasibility study on converting the Star Gulch reservoir into a recreational lake, which concluded the north end would be the most appropriate location for a recreational site. The estimated cost of development was $157,000 and the estimated annual operating cost was $45,000.

The report suggested the reservoir should continue to store raw water, even if taken offline for public use.

Centre Star Gulch is one of Rossland’s two major reservoirs. The other, Ophir, collects water from Hanna and Murphy Creeks. Star Gulch is fed from Ophir as well as Topping Creek.

The city had problems in years past with unauthorized swimming in Ophir, and hired security guards to patrol the area.

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