Excitement by the pond-full

Construction of riverside amenity draws interest from Castlegar and beyond

Opening of new facility is expected in mid

People are naturally interested in major improvements to their city, town, village or region, but when they anticipate an actual physical relationship with a new amenity, that interest builds exponentially.

Castlegar’s Millennium Ponds project is the sort of addition a lot of folks have asked for.

Councillor Dan Rye provided a brief update on the progress of the project during the regular city council meeting of June 9. He elaborated on the topic the following morning in a conversation with the Castlegar News.

“Mid to late July,” he reaffirmed as to the expected date of completion.

“We’re working on irrigation around the outside, and they’re spreading topsoil in the area. We’re going to have a grassy area around the ponds.

“The ponds themselves are pretty well done,” he continued. “There’s water in pond number three… one and two don’t have water in them yet. We’re waiting until the other stuff is done. There’s electrical work to be done, for running the pumps and that kind of thing.”

The project has basically gone ahead as planned, with a couple of weeks delay earlier this spring according to the councillor. There was a particularly wet spell in early May that held things up a bit.

“They couldn’t put the liner down,” Rye explained, “it had to be dry for a couple of days.”

This project is clearly more eagerly awaited than most, as countless hours of leisure and fun ideally await the public each summer after the work is all done.

The work is fairly cutting edge – not a lot of existing models for the city to have gone to school on. Certainly nothing the City of Castlegar has tackled.

“This type of project is something I don’t think has been seen in too many places,” Rye related. “I won’t say its an experiment, but it’s kind of groundbreaking. We’ve had other municipalities looking at what we’re doing and taking quite an interest in it.”

The local public is definitely interested. Rye says each time he’s been the the site alongside the Columbia River he’s seen folks checking it out.

“When they did the Millennium Park Master Plan about five years ago, before I was on council, that was one of the main features everyone wanted… some sort of a water feature down in that area. That’s why it was chosen. I guess you could say it’s council’s pet project for this term.”

With the Rotary outdoor gym in place and more work ahead by the service club, plus the bike park for which work is well underway, there can be many active days ahead for Millennium Park.

“I get comments all the time… ‘When’s it going to open,’ ‘We can hardly wait!’ A lot of families are going to use that area down there,” said Rye.

The budget, according to the councillor had been increased to a total about $1.8 million before the work had actually begun, and has stayed within the plan. In Rye’s opinion it will provide the city with good bang for the buck.

“Im excited, he concluded, “I know that, and I know the buzz in the community seems to be that way too.”

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