May 25, 2016

Cranbrook, BC (May 25, 2016) -- The City of Cranbrook is moving forward with the rehabilitation of the Idlewild Lake dam and upgrades to the park. With construction work tentatively expected to begin in July, the City will be working closely with all stakeholders including Provincial Ministries, Federal agencies, professional consultants, First Nations, and park users to ensure a successful project delivery for the area. 

In early June, a public consultation process will take place, to provide additional input into a master plan for the park.  Information about the public open house will be made available over the next few days. 

All users should be aware that there will be restricted access to Idlewild park and trails during the major construction works. There will be intermittent access restrictions while environmental and investigation work takes place. These activities, along with fluctuating water levels due to spring runoff, mean that the public should exercise caution when using the area and must obey all signs and barricades.  Users are also asked to please stay back from the lake and creek at all times and keep your pet on a leash.

This spring, Western Painted Turtles will be relocated to a new permanent location where a sample population was successfully relocated in 2015. Permits will also be in place to salvage the existing fish population and relocate it as required by the Ministry of Environment and the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  During the construction, there will be ongoing environmental, wildlife and water quality monitoring both within the reservoir and in Joseph Creek.

In February, the Federal and Provincial Governments, through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) announced a grant of $2.8 million for the Idlewild Lake Rehabilitation Project through the federal Gas Tax Fund.  The project will be split into two parts -- the dam rebuilding portion to occur in 2016 and the overall park enhancement work to occur in 2017.

Idlewild Park is a 15.9 hectare Regional Park, where area residents and visitors can participate in activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, skating, or more leisurely pursuits like summer concerts, weddings, and picnicking.  The dam, and the reservoir it created in the 1930s, was once part of the City of Cranbrook drinking water system.  In the 1970s, the reservoir was repurposed as a recreational lake, which is now the defining feature of the park.  Due to dam deficiencies identified by an engineering report, City Council made the difficult decision to drain the lake in 2015.

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