Centre Star Gulch reservoir will remain closed to swimming. Photo: Chelsea Novak

Centre Star Gulch reservoir will remain closed to swimming. Photo: Chelsea Novak

Council says ‘No Swimming’ in Rossland reservoir

What sounded like a great idea, was drowned out by climate change concerns

The hopes of opening up Centre Star Gulch to swimming has been momentarily dashed.

Coun. Stewart Spooner made a motion at the July 12 council meeting to “form a small committee with representation from council, recreation, and operations staff to develop a preliminary plan for a simple swimming facility in the reservoir so we can get the input from IHA (Interior Health Authority) to see if it’s actually feasible.”

Centre Star Gulch is one of Rossland’s two major reservoirs and is fed by Ophir Reservoir as well as Topping Creek. Ophir collects water from Hanna and Murphy creeks.

Rather than drive to Nancy Greene, Coun. Spooner suggested it would be a great place to cool off and close and accessible by walking or biking.

The committee will gather information and create a plan to bring to the Interior Health Authority on how to proceed.

“We just need a rudimentary plan,” said Spooner. “We want something we can actually bring to IHA so that they can give us substantive feedback on what is actually possible, then we can have something we can realistically consider.”

Coun. Terry Miller agreed. “If there’s any practical way we can make this happen, it would be a huge step forward in the quality of life around here.”

Coun. Dirk Lewis asked why the city needed to form a committee, “Why can’t we just ask IH?”

Operations manager Scott Lamont informed council that IH was approached previously and told staff that the reservoir was the city’s jurisdiction and responsibility. “The question that really needs to be looked at is our vulnerability, that’s the bottom line,” said Lamont.

Coun. Janice Nightingale suggested the process fall under the upcoming city’s master recreation plan.

As much as council could see the positives in having a recreational area at Centre Star Gulch, recent wildfires and climate change has heightened concerns with clean drinking water security.

“I love the idea of a bike-able water source, but I’m really concerned about where we’re going climate wise and what our water needs are and how vulnerable we really are, whether its wildfire, drinking water or whatever,” said Moore. “I used to be more enthusiastic about this than I am today, so I’m actually not in favour of it, sadly.”

The motion was defeated, with the possibility of revisiting it when the city revamps its master recreation plan.

Climate changeRossland