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City to remove Idlewild Park beaver dam

Workers with the City of Cranbrook will begin removing the beaver dam at Idlewild Park.

The animal was first noticed to have taken up residence in the Idlewild reservoir in July of 2021, and a dam was constructed upstream of the bridge.

Staff note that discussions on removing the dam have been ongoing ever since.

According to city officials, cameras have not picked up any more beaver activity in the area as of this month.

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“Staff has done nothing to remove the beavers. We have left them be for the winter, spring and summer,” explained Curtis Mummery, acting Manager of Infrastructure Planning and Delivery. “We have had a trail camera monitoring the beaver dam since June, and to this day, I have yet to see any images of the beaver doing any work on the dam.”

Over the winter, city staff consulted the Provincial Dam Safety Officer and BBA Engineering, who designed the man-made Idlewild dam. Both recommended the same course of action.

“A subsequent inspection by the Provincial Dam Safety Officer included a recommendation to remove the beaver dam to ensure the continued safe operation of the Idlewild Dam,” said Cranbrook officials. “BBA Engineering also recommended the removal of the beaver dam to protect the Idlewild Dam.”

Staff note that the city has not been formally ordered to remove the dam, but the province has the ability to make that demand.

Earlier this year, Keefer Ecological Services was contracted to lower the height of the dam following significant upstream flooding and some damage to nearby property.

On-site staff said the foundation of the nearby walking bridge was starting to become damaged from the overflow as well.

City officials said they will work with a local biologist to find out the best time to remove the dam.

“At this time, the City will not be removing any beavers in Idlewild Park, although the biologist or the Province may deem the relocation of the beavers as a necessity prior to the dam’s removal,” said city staff. “City Council and staff will review the decision on the beaver dam in Fall 2022 and provide any additional updates as to whether the dam is rebuilt or any future action regarding the dam or the beavers will be taken.”

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