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New partner added to push to completion on Cottonwood Lake accessibility project

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
April 5th, 2022

An accessibility project for Cottonwood Lake is being given a boost in order to move it ahead to completion.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors authorized entering into a partnership agreement with the Kootenay Adaptive Sports Association (KASA) for the completion of the Cottonwood Lake accessibility project.

The project is expected to upgrade the park to ensure accessibility to the following areas: parking, washroom facilities, wildlife nature viewing, fishing platforms, trails, footbridge and wharf.

The overall cost of the project was pegged at $425,000, with $225,000 being shared between Nelson, Salmo and the electoral areas E, F, and G Regional Parks Service, and the remaining $200,000 being picked up by KASA.

“The purpose of the Cottonwood Lake Accessibility Project is to replace existing amenities and add new project components that make the park accessible to all segments of the population,” wrote Cary Gaynor, RDCK regional parks manager, in his report to the board. “The vision for this project is to balance accessibility and affordability.”

He added that the partnership agreement allows KASA to bring its accessibility construction expertise to the project, managing the construction of the two accessible viewing platforms, accessible washrooms, accessible bridge crossing, accessible viewing deck off the old shelter, accessible picnic area and all accessible trails leading to the accessible infrastructure.

 Time travel

The project became apparent when it became obvious that many of the key park components needed replacement and did not pass the test of being accessible, Gaynor noted.

“For example, accessible parking is not available, suitable links to paths are not established, and there are no accessible toilet facilities,” he said.

So funding was sought and four years ago the regional district landed a $408,000 grant to complete the project at Cottonwood Lake Regional Park.

Two years ago KASA was brought on board to help complete the design, while RDCK staff engaged a local engineer to help provide engineered documents on the specific site and structure design.

One year ago KASA approached the RDCK with a minimum of $200,000 in additional funding to support the project.

 Further afield

The RDCK has a contract agreement with the Nelson Cycling Club to provide accessible walking trails on the newly acquired land above the base recreation area, Gaynor pointed out in his report.

Last fall the regional district finished the work in the parking lot and trail head improvements in the park.

“Cottonwood Lake Regional Park will provide outdoor environmental experiences for all members of the public to enjoy,” Gaynor wrote. “Summer and winter camps, outdoor education, school excursions, ice fishing and boating are but a few of the outdoor environmental activities that people can enjoy at Cottonwood Lake Regional Park.”

As the project is being complete access to certain park areas will not be permitted and public communication will be provided.

 The details

Universal access and design is the hallmark of the project to make the site more flexible, simple and intuitive to use while lowering the physical effort that is required in order to have a park experience, Gaynor wrote.

Key components of the Cottonwood Lake accessibility project include items such as:

• accessible wildlife nature viewing and fishing platforms;

• accessible wharf (replace and/or relocate the existing one);

• accessible footbridge, main parking area and overflow parking;

• accessible washrooms, picnic area and trailhead parking; and

• accessible lakeside trails/accessible linkage trail (to Great Trail).

Source: RDCK staff report

Categories: General


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