At last – the plans. So what’s changed from the earlier proposals?
Well, the main thing is that we’ve had useful input from the user group, which includes representatives of all the different user groups with in interest in the course. A day-and-night contrast with the start of this process, we’ve all had a say in the designs. You can find out more about the consultation process and the changes here (420kb PDF). And we think it shows in what’s actually proposed:
- The course will go back to full flow. It’s flowing at 17 cubic metres a second (cumecs) at the moment. These changes will put it back to the 24 cumecs it used to flow at. That means the rapids will get their power back.
- The muncher and plughole section will stay as they are. That means 24 cumecs going through the section, which should deepen up the muncher and plughole themselves, and bring back the power and definition they used to have.
- The pools will stay deep. The Pyramid and Looping pools will stay deep, to retain their playboating potential – though the changes will make the deep sections shorter. Modelling shows this won’t change the energy in the features, but it will speed up the water on exit which will suit racers. The deep pool downstream of the muncher will be filled in, though.
- Specific features for beginners, intermediates and whitewater safety and rescue. The back-channels and the section below the muncher will make training grounds for improving paddlers and rescue technicians.
- Variable features. We’ve looked closely at the Omniflot system. In theory, it should give us the potential to fine-tune features outside the muncher/plughole section to make the most of them.
If you want to see the modelling behind the proposals, you can download this 540kb PDF for full details.
So what do I think?
Well… I think it should be an improvement on what we’ve got now for almost all course users. The main benefit is a full 24 cumec flow again. It should give the features more depth, which can only be a good thing. Given the process the user group have been through, and the information we’ve been given, I think it’ll give the course a new lease of life over its current – lousy – configuration.
So I’m actually quite excited about the potential. But what do you think? You can come along to the public meeting this Wednesday to have your say…