The Golden Town Council is dealing with some watery issues

The Golden Kicking Horse River Dike Upgrade and possible changes at the Golden Swimming Pool were discussed at this week's council meeting.

At the March 6 regular council meeting the Golden Kicking Horse River Dike Upgrade is one step closer to being a reality.

Chief Administrative Officer David Allen said of the project, “This has been a long time coming.”

The original grant application was put in on Sept. 24 of 2010.

“It is basically a $4 million project  which is deigned to address the flood protection issues associated with the historical downtown. The improvements will be to the north shore line between the pedestrian bridge and the highway bridge. It is about 350 metre of improvements and raising the dyke.”

Allen said the projects is aimed at not only improving the dyke level but also some beautification, tourism and pedestrian parts to the project as well.

“The good news is that we got the grant in late January of this year and we are looking at $2.24 million which represents two-thirds of the approved project budget. There is another $730,000 roughly, that’s associated with beautification of the area,” Allen said.

Allen pointed out there are still a few challenges the town will have to face moving forward with the project.

“When we originally applied for the grant back in 2010, we had envisioned a four year process. We did not get notice until 14 to 16 months later but the Feds are saying they want to stick to the same timeline. We have lost a full year and more but they are still insisting that we complete the project by February of 2014,” Allen said. “We envisioned getting a start on the project in 2011 and have a construction season in 2012 and 2013…The construction period is basically a two-month period from late summer to early fall every year due to water levels but not during freezing temperatures.”

Allen went on to say that the town was left with one construction season so the town would have to get all of the work done in a two-month period. He said after talking to staff and engineers that the process is doable with the potential for putting off the beautification for the following year.

Coun. Ron Oszust pointed out that he was disappointed that the town had not started a reserve knowing that the project was going to have to happen at some point.

“I believe that this is unfortunate because we had an opportunity there that if the project did not go ahead we could have used it (funding put aside by the town) somewhere else,” Oszust said.

Oszust also felt it should be pointed out to the public that having a Kayak Park as a part of the Bridge to Bridge project was not a concept would not happen in that area of the river. Allen said it was unfortunate, but due to issues such as ice jamming in winter there was nothing that could be done about that goal at the present time.

“This is a huge project for the municipality and we are looking at borrowing a significant amount of money. It is an incredibly valuable project for the community but there will be some financial impact,” Mayor Christina Benty said.

Golden Swimming Pool

Jordan Petrovics, Manager of Recreation Services for the Town of Golden gave an update about some possible changes to use at the Golden Swimming Pool.

One of the areas discussed at the meeting was in relation to the exclusive use the Golden Swim Team had had in the past at the pool.

Petrovics said a letter had been sent to the team explaining some of the possible changes which would be coming into effect this year.

“B.C. pool regulations outline the minimum requirements for public pools, and based on some history at the pool we are working on making sure we meet those standards and exceed them with our staffing,” Petrovics said. “The recommendation that’s outlined is the discontinuation of exclusive use for the swim team at the facility, with our life guards being on staff and moving to a lane rental for swim team use.”

Petrovics said this would give the benefits of not only letting the swimming team use the facility  but also increase cost recovery by having lanes open for other swimmers as well.

Coun. Caleb Moss asked if things at the facility are going to change based on a provincial shift or were there others reason for the change.

“There have been changes in the B.C. pool regulations and by reading into those regulations there are elements in those guidelines that give us reason to up our quality of care.

“There are recommendations from our insurance agency that is best that we have our own staff who are trained in our own processes and procedures to deal with matters,” Petrovics said.

Petrovics went on to say some proposals were made after consultations with the public, who voiced their interest to have more time to use the facility during  prime times.

Mayor Benty said that the swim club did have some concerns on the changes and how they would affect the club. She confirmed with Petrovics that the door was still open for conversations with the club about what was going to happen at the pool.

Oszust pointed out from what he was hearing that even though the door was open to talk about issues some of the changes were going to happen.

Petrovics pointed out that the changes that had to go forward was dealing with issues with exclusive times.

“Within the pool itself we have to have our staff on sight. However based on the schedule in with the briefing note it is a draft schedule. There are areas the staff can entertain conversations,” he said.

During question period at the end of the meeting residents in the gallery continued to question the changes and pointed differences in opinions on some of the points brought up during the meeting. No final decision on times at the pool have been made. Petrovics said that it will take about a month to set a final schedule once they hire a recreation programmer who will be looking after the pool as part of their job.