By Andrea Horton
Scott Shipley, President of S2o Designs presented to a full house at The Fernie Golf and Country Club at the first Fernie Whitewater Park open house on May 10.
The venue was packed with river enthusiasts and people with concerns about the project. Shipley, who was in Fernie May 9 and 10 to float the Elk River and assess the likelihood of building a park on it gave an overview of the project, showed slides of his other projects and answered questions.
According to Shipley the whole section of the Elk that the Whitewater Society is looking at is very homogenous.
“There are two or three sights that we are looking at,” said Shipley. “The river has a lot of potential.”
The sites that are being considered for the park are the Annex Park, above the West Fernie bridge, below the West Fernie bridge and at the boat launch.
Each park is designed to mesh with it’s surroundings, it has to tie in with existing parks as amenities such as parking and washrooms need to be readily available to park users.
The first step is to come up with a concept design, which Shipley will do over the coming weeks. He will assess the sites that have potential, taking into consideration costs and location. With a design in place, the society will pursue funding and permits. After funding and permits are in place the actual construction of the project will take two years.
“Scott is one of the premier whitewater park designers in the world today,” said Dan Savage, Fernie Whitewater Society Director. “Our goal is to cater to everybody, and I think with our great companion Scott Shipley, we can do that.
“We want to make this process as open as possible,” said Savage. “We will have more open houses, engage all key stakeholders and make sure that we are not affecting anyone’s lifestyle negatively along the way.”
According to Savage the two biggest challenges the society faces is permitting and funding. The estimated cost of the project is between $750,000 and $2 million.
City Council has already donated $8,000 and the Regional District East Kootenay (RDEK) has donated $2,000 towards the project.
For more information please visit facebook/ferniewhitewaterpark.