Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Kayak wave structure proposed

Canal dam could be transformed into recreation asset

Express Staff Writer

A group of kayaking enthusiasts would like to see the irrigation canal dam in Bellevue transformed into a recreation asset. Courtesy photo

Whitewater fans could have good reason to visit Bellevue if plans for a kayaking “wave structure” proposed for the Big Wood River gain momentum.

Wave structures direct river current flows to produce a wave for riding on with kayaks and other floating devices.

“Everyone we have talked to has said it’s a good idea. The kayaking community thinks it would be great,” said Craig Wolfrom, a whitewater enthusiast and chair of the Bellevue Tree and Parks Committee.

Wolfrom, who proposed the structure, will hold an informational meeting on Monday, March 11, at 6 p.m. at Bellevue City Hall to answer questions about the proposed structure.

Wolfrom said transforming an irrigation canal head gate below the Broadford Road Bridge for recreational use would also increase safety at the site.

“Right now the irrigation canal head gate dam is a danger because of the recirculating wave it produces,” he said. “It also has rebar sticking out of it. It could be redone to become an asset to the city.

“Bellevue is for too many people going north and south only a speed bump. I would love to see people stop and see the kind of assets we have.”

The head gate dam directs the flow of water from the Big Wood River into an irrigation canal owned by the District 45 Irrigation District. Wolfrom said the area around the dam could be transformed into a river park where kayakers and boogie-boarders could play and practice their skills.

The Monday meeting is open to anyone with interest in the proposed wave structure, including residents, property owners, canal company personnel and kayakers.

Wolfrom said that before fundraising efforts begin for the project, a host of issues would need to be resolved, including those involving flooding, erosion and engineering. 

He said initial engineering feasibility costs could total about $15,000 and the cost of completing the structure could be as much as $300,000.

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Tony Evans:

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