Cable park proposal worries water-ski club

There’s a water fight brewing over watersport access at Albert Dyck Park.

Jarris Neufeld of Abbotsford competes in the slalom during the Canadian Water-Ski Championships at Albert Dyck Park last summer. Local water-ski enthusiasts are concerned that a new cable park proposal could displace them from the local site.

Jarris Neufeld of Abbotsford competes in the slalom during the Canadian Water-Ski Championships at Albert Dyck Park last summer. Local water-ski enthusiasts are concerned that a new cable park proposal could displace them from the local site.

There’s a water fight brewing over watersport access at Albert Dyck Park.

Last week, Dave Miller of the Fraser Valley Water Ski Club (FVWSC) circulated an email soliciting support to “save water-skiing in Abbotsford.” The cause of his concern is a series of proposals from companies seeking to construct a cable park at Walmsley Lake, a former gravel quarry at the centre of Albert Dyck Park, located in southwest Abbotsford near the airport.

A cable park features a permanent overhead cable system to pull water-ski/wakeboard riders via an electric motor, as opposed to being towed behind a boat as in the traditional version of the sport.

Cable skiing/wakeboarding is popular in Europe, and is slowly gaining popularity in North America. There are only a handful of cable facilities in Canada.

“It’s a different sport altogether,” said Miller, an Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame inductee in 2007 who has won slalom titles in boat-powered water skiing at the Pan American Games and the World Championships. “A cable pulls you around, so the whole dynamics of the way you would ski is different.”

Mark Taylor, general manager of Abbotsford’s Parks, Recreation and Culture department, confirmed that three private companies have expressed “unsolicited interest” to the city about operating a cable park at Albert Dyck Park.

But Taylor said significant infrastructure upgrades would be required of an operator – expanded parking, washroom and changing facilities, along with exit points from the water and walkways around the lake. Taylor estimated that work could cost in the neighbourhood of $2 million.

“For cable wakeboarding to come here and have potentially hundreds of people in the park on a weekend, they would have to provide a higher level of service amenities with their proposal,” said Taylor, noting that the process was still in the preliminary stages.

“With a boat, you pick people up in the water and take them back to the dock. With cable wakeboarding, they have to walk back around the lake.

“We’ve put forward to them (the interested parties) the things they have to take care of, and they have to decide if it’s a business plan they would like to present back to staff, and then ultimately, council.”

Miller, a founding member of the FVWSC, spearheaded an effort to convince the City of Abbotsford to convert the gravel pit into a permanent water ski facility back in 1995. The man-made lake was used for the Western Canada Summer Games that year, and has hosted many professional tours and provincial and national events since.

The FVWSC has constructed outbuildings at the park to house their equipment. They lease the property from the city.

Miller met with one of the potential cable park operators to see if they could coexist with the FVWSC at the site, but was told it wouldn’t work logistically.

“Because they would put all these obstacles in there, ours would just be in the way of theirs – our jump and slalom course and all that,” Miller said. “We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with a cable park. We’re just saying you have to go do it somewhere else. This is what we do.

“It’s like taking hockey players out of the rink because we want to be full-time figure skating or something.”

Since making his appeal for support last week, Miller has received more than 100 letters from water ski enthusiasts from all over the world.

“They’re coming in from France, Switzerland, South Africa, the U.S., South America,” he said. “People have been here from all over the world, and they know of the lake.

“I don’t believe that the city or council will support it, but we’re just sort of getting our ammunition ready, because they’re going to present it to council.”

Miller said there’s no other location locally for the water ski club to set up shop.

“We’d be done,” he said. “That’s the unfortunate thing.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue brought a man to safety, and awaiting paramedics, after a 20-foot fall down an embankment on Jan. 23, 2020, on Harrison West Forest Service Road. (Kent Harrison Search and Rescue photo)
Rescue crew lifts man up 20-foot embankment near Harrison Lake

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue says this is the fifth call already this year

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A mallard duck swims through Salish Pond in Chilliwack on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Snow, rain in forecast for Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley has been treated to more than a week of mostly sunny weather, but it’s about to end

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment, hits milestones in break-out year

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near Chilliwack secondary

Third high-school related assault Rob Iezzi’s cameras have captured since beginning of 2021

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Most Read