When discussion first began around the need to rehab the concrete flume in Mark Creek, a group of white water enthusiasts approached Kimberley City Council with the idea of inserting a white water course into the flume.
They said it would be a great downtown feature, drawing tourists for competitions. Council was receptive to the idea, but said the group would have to source their own funding, as the City’s primary focus in the project was health and safety.
The first phase of the flume, downstream of Highway 95A, is complete and no white water features were added. However, the kayak group had always felt that phase 2 or 3 would be a more appropriate place for the feature.
That didn’t stop them from getting out the kayaks this past Wednesday and seeing what kind of fun could be had in the first phase of the project.
Turns out quite a bit, says paddler Alex Buterman.
”There wasn’t any mentionable feature for us to report, however it is a step in the right direction,” he said.
He says the paddlers still hope that funds can be found for a hydrologist to build safe, accessible and playable features to “maximize the fun in the flume”.
Buterman says they are a little disappointed there wasn’t an opportunity for them to inspect the first portion of the flume project for potential white water features, but they remain committed to finding funding.
“This really makes me want to push for a hydrologist white water group that actually does water scale modelling and builds safe, usable features.”
They have approached the Columbia Basin Trust about funding for a hydrologist and have received some positive encouragement, he says.
The group is also soliciting promises of in-kind funding to help hauling rock etc. to reduce costs. There is a bank account set up at Kootenay Savings in Kimberley called Mark Creek White Water Initiative, and donations are gratefully accepted.
As for Wednesday evening he says there was quite a buzz around the first stage of the flume.
“Many spectators, paddlers and neighbours peered over the banks to see what all the excitement was about. Even though Mark Creek gets paddled by creek boats, never have I seen so many “play boats” in the creek.”
He says the group still plans to revisit Council to remind them that they still want to find a way to make the project go ahead.
“We are hoping to see safe, playable and easy accessible waves and holes (hydraulic features) within this project in which will be a total asset to the community,” Buterman said.