With the onset of summer weather, local residents and visitors can now take full advantage of a variety of upgraded facilities at Walker Island Park. Over the last two months, Rec Commission volunteer Caroline Granander, CCRD staff and a variety of contractors have been busy completing the last of the repairs as a result of damage sustained in the 2010 flooding. Most notable is the re-skinning of the softball infield with new bentonite material trucked in from the BC interior.
Last fall, the CCRD hired Urban Systems from Kamloops BC to complete an assessment of the infield and develop a prescription for the rehabilitation work. Urban Systems was chosen for the work because of their previous experience with the design of the softball fields in Kamloops, which are visited every year by many Bella Coolians for an annual slow-pitch tournament. The Urban Systems Report concluded that there was too much contamination and loss of the existing material and recommended, “that the infield be reconstructed with skinned material to full and consistent 150mm depth”.
Luckily, there was enough money available through the Disaster Financial Assistance Program to assist the CCRD in the purchase of the same infield material that was used in the construction of the softball fields in Kamloops.
On July 1, with road restrictions off and contractors lined up, four large B-Train trucks rolled into town with more than 200 cubic yards of infield material ready to dump. Fortunately, local contractor Troy Gurr was ahead of schedule on the removal of the old infield material and the trucks were able to unload that same evening. The loads were promptly spread and compacted in one inch lifts to specified grades. The improved quality of the new material is evident to everyone who comes by to have a look. Nearing completion of the job, Gurr notes, “the new material is definitely more user friendly.” However he cautions, “It’s going to take several good rains and some use before the material settles and the lower lifts harden. There are definitely more fines in this material and drainage could be an issue.”
Other exciting upgrades to the park include a new surface well installed by Gordon Gibbs and a new concrete outhouse installed by Leko Precast of Vernon, B.C. In conjunction with the recent addition of the soccer field and BBQ shelter, these improvements make Walker Island a great place to come and take in a fun game of slow-pitch or to enjoy a family outing.
Thank you to all the volunteers who donate their time and resources to create recreation opportunities in our Valley.