First off, a correction to my last column where I was describing our pool shutdown procedure, which included draining the pools. I have to admit the column was written a week or two in advance while camping on the shores of Lake Koocanusa in 37-degree heat — deplorable conditions that caused me to temporarily take leave of my senses. We actually did not drain the two main pools and had discussed it as a potential situation in our shutdown pre-planning back when the water restriction first went on in June. We recently spoke with Robin Douville, the works superintendent at the Arrow Creek water system which is the headwater for Creston and Erickson’s water, who gave us a good education on flows, forecasts and recovery rates.
We did discuss various options with him including slow fill rates to reduce impact to the system but in the end we elected to just drop the pool levels slightly (six to eight inches) to access some trouble spots and develop some workarounds for some of the underwater areas. We are still doing all the maintenance to the filters, pumps, piping and controls that is required, as well as all the other cleaning and painting above sea level. I look at it as being part of a community, a good one, where it appears most people respect the situation we are in with our current state of water supply — evidenced by a lot of brown lawns and droopy plants. Sprinkle in a generous portion of anxiety as we looked out our windows to see fires burning way too close for comfort and water jumped up a few notches in importance as one realized this is the main ingredient our firefighters use to keep us safe. OK, enough baking metaphors.
Also, as part of a community, some hard decisions have to be made about keeping facilities open for its citizens, such as the pool and splash park. Yes, they do use some resources but the benefit in doing so is the availability to everyone, as evidenced by the numbers using them for some relief from our scorching temperatures. We have seen many people in the community complex that just came in to escape the high temperatures, reading, relaxing or checking emails in the relative coolness of the lobby. Most recently, we have people coming in to get away from the smoky conditions; while we are far from airtight, we do have a pretty solid building envelope and a ventilation system where the air has to pass through filters before it gets inside. In reality, for a building this size and combination of ages, we have better airtightness and filtration than most buildings in the area so keep that in mind if you can’t get your house cool or your eyes from burning — at least for a brief period of respite.
Don’t forget to come and check out the Creston Valley Fall Fair on Sept. 11 and 12 at the community complex. It is always a good time to see displays, entertainment, friends and neighbours. And how many fall fairs do you get a chance to see? I noticed the maintenance crew was test fitting some of the flooring in the corners this morning as we leave the ice in and cover it with Homasote floor for this event. We’ll see you there!
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.