Amidst the smoke of tasty burgers and hot dogs cooking on the barbecue, Councillor Paul Marcil cuts the ribbon for the official opening of the updated Tilley Memorial Park in Canal Flats Friday, June 30th. Photo by Dean Midyette

Upgrades to Tilley Memorial Park in Canal Flats unveiled

New washrooms, expanded docks among new features

Residents and visitors got a first-hand look at the upgraded Tilley Memorial Park during their recent grand unveiling.

Canal Flats Council members were on hand to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the park Friday, June 30th, which includes many new and upgraded features.

The park, located on the south end of Columbia Lake in the village of Canal Flats, has seen numerous upgrades over the past year including new washrooms, expanded docks, playground and picnic tables.

Councillor Paul Marcil, who spearheaded the project, says not only will this project be good for helping to draw visitors into the community, it will also be good for people already here to make it a more enjoyable place to live.

“Beaches are a big deal in village life and it is an economic driver for the village,” shares Marcil. “We’ve done some really good things; it will make it a really popular place.”

One of the major projects at the park was the new washrooms. They replaced pit toilets with wheelchair accessible flush toilets, warm water for sanitary hand washing, plus a changing area, explains Marcil.

They added a drinking fountain, and timber frame elements to the exterior in keeping with the village design guidelines.

“We put a lot of effort into it and I believe it’s a very nice improvement,” says Marcil.

The playground is a more interactive, modern-style installation that allows kids to climb, crawl and balance their way through the playground pieces. A basket swing is also going to be installed soon.

There are new, cement picnic tables to replace the old wood ones that were starting to deteriorate, including one with an extended end to allow for wheelchair access.

The docks are a key new feature. Tilley Memorial Park sees heavy boat-launch traffic and Marcil says there used to be lineups because of the limited space on the dock for a boat to tie up while the driver parks their trailer. With more dock space, Council is hoping the traffic will flow much easier.

“Launching and reloading should be much more efficient,” says Marcil.

Council also decided to get the lines repainted in the existing parking lot, making them the stalls smaller and thereby opening up 17 more car stalls and seven new boat trailer stalls. While Marcil says there has been some pushback on this decision, he emphasizes they are the same size stalls as if you were to go to any provincial park.

The project was paid for through Canada 150 funding, the Columbia Basin Trust, Southern Interior Development Initiatives Trust and the village of Canal Flats. Out of the almost $300,000 worth of investment in the park, approximately $17,500 came out of village taxpayer’s pockets, explains Marcil.

The village celebrated the grand reopening with a party, complete with a Canada cake, free barbecue where they served more than 200 burgers plus hot dogs with local band Valley Forged rocking the lakefront for party-goers.

The only remaining element on the current Council docket is to address a possible parking lot addition further up the hill, pending an archeological assessment.