The Morning Mountain recreation area, popular with mountain bikers, hikers and snowshoers, will soon have running water after receiving $30,000 in community works funding.
The new funds will mean an enhanced summer picnic area, a station to wash bikes before and after riding to prevent the spread of invasive plant species, and an outdoor skating rink.
An area will be excavated and sodded to accommodate a level picnic area and the rink.
There are plans to refurbish the old well previously used by the ski hill, plus the installation of a storage tank to supplement low water flows in the summer. While the water won’t be potable, there is a possibility of future improvements of a filtration system to meet Interior Health’s requirements for drinking water.
Electricity will also be reconnected to an existing power pole for lighting purposes.
The project was spurred by the Blewett Conservation Society when they approached the regional district in 2014 with a desire to bring back winter activities to Morning Mountain.
Currently the only outdoor ice rink in the region is at Lions Park in Nelson. With the Blewett school close by, students could enjoy skating as an addition to their winter outdoor activities.
Regional district parks operations supervisor Cary Gaynor was happy to find out last week that the board agreed to allot the funds and he has started working on procurement.
He’s working with a stewardship group made up of Blewett community members. A report to the regional district suggested a stewardship group may manage the skating rink in the winter.
Work is expected to begin in June and be completed by October.
The regional district plans to install traffic and pedestrian counters in the area to see if recreational use increases with this project. The information gathered could support further upgrades.
Since 2003, $150,000 has been invested in Morning Mountain recreation area with contributions from Recreation Sites and Trails BC, the regional district, private contributors and in-kind work.
Morning Mountain operated as a ski hill from 1974 until 1999 when the lodge burned down. The community decided not to rebuild and instead funds from the insurance settlement were reserved for recreation projects in Taghum, Blewett, Beasley, and Bonnington.