The “safety-rope” set up at Gyro Park beach was deemed unsafe, so city council approved a safe-swim project for the popular Trail beach. Photo: Jim Bailey

Safety first for Trail’s Gyro Park beach

A hydrologist will design and engineer a safe swimming zone for Gyro Park beach

Trail city council approved a project to provide a safer swimming area at Gyro Park.

At their governance meeting May 25, council authorized WSP, a consulting firm, to engage a hydrologist to proceed with engineering and design for safety upgrades at Gyro Beach.

With frequent fluctuations of the Columbia River, the safety-rope previously used was determined to be unsafe. The hydrologist’s expertise is needed to best create a design that considers the dynamic fluctuations and fast-flowing current of the Columbia River.

“I actually think this is a really good idea,” said Coun. Colleen Jones. “I know that it’s something I’ve looked forward to. And as a mother and a grandmother when you bring your children and grandchildren down there and they’re swimming in the water, you never know what the level is going to be at when they get to the rope, and it’s always a fear that its deeper than they’re expecting.”

Jones also expressed concern for visitors who go to the beach and are not aware of the strength of the current.

“I think this is something that we’ve needed for a very long time, and this is a great opportunity to move forward with it.”

Corporate Administrator Michelle McIsaac explained to staff that many residents believe the safety rope marks off a safe swimming area, when in fact the rope was put in place for swimmers to grab onto before being swept away by the current.

“The rope itself will move in and out with the current, although it may be anchored properly at each point,” she noted. “The rope may not be serving its purpose based on where the water levels are at any given time, so we really do need to come up with a better system to provide some safety mechanism there.”

Following some discussion, council agreed to engage WSP for $56,000, and wave the purchasing policy, as the direct award of the engineering contract is in the best interest of the city.

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