The Burnett Recreation Site is beginning to take shape after years of construction and fundraising.

The recreation site which has been a long-time dream of the Swift Current Wildlife Federation to turn it into a fishery was bought in 1998 and not until recently did the Wildlife Federation decide to upgrade it.

Clark Schultz is the president of the Swift Current Wildlife Federation and said they decided to upgrade the site after someone gave them the idea.

"A couple of years ago we were approached by someone if there was any place close to Swift Current where you could take someone in a wheelchair fishing and unfortunately there's not," he said. "That kind of got the ball rolling on the project to go ahead and upgrade it."

So far the project which is set to cost around $100,000, has had the infrastructure of the site completed.

"We pumped water out of it last fall, and we hired a couple of earthmoving companies to come in, and once we had the water pumped out we dredged the east end of the pond and made it deeper and a better layout and structure for the fish," Schultz said. "We created an earth pier coming out from the south shore which will be both a wave break and another location to fish off it."

Schultz said that already this spring they've been able to make progress by installing a dock.

"We had a crane truck, and a welder come in and install the base for our wheelchair accessible dock," he said. "Now we have to build a small retaining wall around the end of the dock, backfill it a little bit and we will be looking at putting some cedar decking on the dock, and then basically the dock will be complete and ready to go in the next few weeks."

Looking forward to the rest of the year, Schultz says they have a lot left to do.

"We are looking at putting up a small building to house the irrigation system and possibly an aeration system if its require keeping the air quality in the water good enough for the fish," he said. "We're going to have a construction company come in later this summer and groom the hill and shape it so we can plant grass on it. That'll be the bulk of the work that we will try and complete this summer."

After this year Schultz says that they want only to have a few things left to complete for next year.

"The long-term plan within the next year to two years is to get paved access from our parking lot over to the wheelchair accessible dock, some more trees along the south and west edge," he said. "Create and finish the walking path all the way around the pound and up over the hill, and install a gazebo."

Schultz adds that they are still on track to open in the summer of 2019.

"The majority of the work will hopefully be finished this summer and fall, and there will still be some work to do next year," he said. "We're hoping to hold the grand opening probably late spring, early summer of next year."

Schultz added that if they can get the go-ahead from a biologist, there might be rainbow trout in the pond this year.

The project to build the fishing pond has gained the Swift Current Wildlife Federation some provincial recognition.

"This project is actually now gained provincial recognition in that the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation is going ahead with something called urban finishers," he said. "It's an ongoing project to try and create more fishing opportunities inside urban settings, and we could be using this as a pilot project for other branches in the province to look at what we did and the cost of this project. It could be a segway into other projects in other areas in the province."

Schultz added that they have come a long way, but they still have a lot of work left to complete.

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