ROARING rapids and white water thrills will be in store for intrepid watersports fans under plans floated by an expanding Dearne Valley sports club.
The Manvers Lake Trust and Manvers Waterfront Boat Club have released preliminary proposals to install a pump-fed whitewater channel at the area of Manvers Lake known as Duck Bay.
The 210-metre, horseshoe-shaped “alpine river” will be used by sports lovers but also flood rescue drills and training, the trust and club said.
A pumphouse in the style of a Lake District boathouse has been designed to lift water, at a rate of up to ten cubic metres every second, three metres from the lake into a “start pool” out of which the water will flow down the artificial river back into the lake.
The water flow could be set at a variety of volumes and speeds from still to a torrent, so that the Olympic sports of whitewater canoe slalom and extreme slalom competition can take place.
Firefighters and other emergency services — who already use the lake for drills and demonstrations — will be able to practise and train for flood and water rescues in and on a variety of water conditions.
The watersports club said the course, which would be the first purpose-built combined “recreation and rescue” facility in England.
Chris Hawkesworth, chair of Manvers Lake Trust, said: “Manvers Lake already has a lot going for it — high quality water, good road and rail links, an existing club of 2,500 members, excellent on-site infrastructure, and above all, a site that lends itself and enables the white water channel to tuck itself innocuously into the parkland setting.”
Mark Benton, chair of Manvers Waterfront Boat Club, said: “We already have one of our members training for the Paris Olympics white water canoe slalom, who is travelling long distances to be coached.
“South Yorkshire Fire and rescue have their training facility at the Dearne Station just over the road, so it’s crazy that they are travelling to Glasgow when they could have facilities close by.”
The new channel would expand opportunities for Royal Life Saving Society and the Environment Agency to practise rescues beyond still water, said Chris Wordsworth, the technical and commercial manager for the trust.
He added: “It will increase the viability and sustainability of the lake and provide several new local jobs.”
Drop-in open days, with an exhibition about the plans, will be held at the Manvers Lake Boathouse from 3.30pm to 7.30pm next Tuesday and from 11am to 3pm next Saturday, while the plans will be posted online this weekend.
Formal planning permission will be sought in the autumn, with the club aiming to gather views from the public over the summer.