Locals and visitors lament the possibility of an “indefinite” closure of the Ainsworth Hot Spring Resort cave.

UPDATED: Cave closure continues at Ainsworth Hot Springs

Locals and visitors lament the possibility of an “indefinite” closure of the Ainsworth Hot Spring Resort cave.

The caves at Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort are closed and it’s unclear when they will re-open for public use.

The caves were closed for unscheduled maintenance on April 23. The resort anticipated the initial closure to be one week but the caves remained closed as of Tuesday.

“Regular maintenance has led to an issue with lighting in the caves,” said Ainsworth Hot Spring Resort manager Karen LeMoel. “The existing fixtures cannot be repaired or replaced. At this time we are proceeding with a fibre optic solution.

“To our knowledge we are the only hot springs with a wet cave. It’s a unique environment with equally unique challenges. We are faced with satisfying health and safety regulations where regulations are not clearly defined.”

The closure comes on the heels of an incident at the end of March. Kaslo RCMP Cpl. Shaun Begg, who happened to be in the area at the time on an unrelated matter, said birds hitting a wire caused a power surge at the hot springs transformer and a few people in the caves reported getting shocked, none of whom required medical treatment. One elderly woman had an ambulance crew check her out and “she was spooked.”

Begg said Ainsworth staff removed people from the pool and conducted a safety assessment that determined everything was fine. The staff looked at the electrical situation and determined nothing was wrong; they were confident it was an isolated power incident as all indications bird tripped transformer, Begg said.

LeMoel added the caves’ closure “has definitely affected our business. Some of our employees have been laid off and others have opted to use their vacation time.”

She explained one of the main reasons people come to Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort is to walk through the caves, which are bored into the mountainside.

“At this time it’s difficult to speculate when the caves will reopen,” she said.

Still open for business, the main soaking pool remains open to visitors with a 50 per cent discount on entry fees and a 40 per cent discount on room rates.

Just Posted

10 RDCK incumbents seek re-election

Most rural directors want another term

Slocan Valley added to communities on flooding evac alert

Kootenay Lake is expected to reach flooding level in Nelson by Friday

Police searching for Nelson man

Brent Mickelson hasn’t been heard from since February

UPDATED: Hwy 3 west of Creston remains closed due to mudslide

A detour is available on the Kootenay Lake Ferry, but commuters could see wait times

Local police recognized for work

Eight officers were honoured for removing impaired drivers

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

UPDATED: Almost 1,200 people allowed to return home in Kootenay-Boundary as floods dry up

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Most Read