Augusta city leaders want to save Lock and Dam, but some say that doesn’t have to come at the expense of a white water course and other recreation.
“There’s this idea that we either save the dam or we have recreation, and I would argue it’s actually the opposite. You can’t save the dam if you don’t have this recreational component to it,” says Tonya Bonitatibus, The Savannah Riverkeeper.
Here is the plan from the McLaughlin White Water Design Group.
It shows the dam and a fish passage but also white water course through what is now part of Lock and Dam Park, it also shows zip lines and a disc golf course.
City leaders are on board with saving the dam and putting in a fish ladder, because they want to protect the upstream pool, something the Riverkeeper says the white water course would do.
“Because there’s a gate at the top of the channel and that gate is adjustable you can allow all the water through or just a little bit, it actually elevates the water flow,” said Bonitatibus.
But some city leaders do not want to consider white water at all.
“The issue of white water, again as far as I’m concerned, is in the parking lot. It will remain in the parking lot until we have clear guidence from the Corps that they’re pivoting and being very sensitive to the needs of our community,” says Mayor Hardie Davis.
But Commissioner Dennis Williams says a possible white water course is not off his radar at this point.
“I don’t believe it’s dead. I haven’t heard anything saying it should be dead. I’m just looking at trying to come up with solution that will be agreeable to all the parties involved,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
The riverkeeper hopes commissioners will approve the recreation plan with the white water course, so it can be presented to the Corps of Engineers for possible funding.
Tuesday, Commissioners are expected to hire two engineerings firms to help make the city’s case to the corps on saving Lock and Dam.