Canada

Regina's 'big dig' ready to be filled

A deeper and cleaner Wascana Lake was unveiled Sunday following a three-month, $18-million clean-up operation in Regina

A deeper and cleaner Wascana Lake was unveiled Sunday following a three-month, $18-million clean-up operation to salvage the city's historic body of water.

The government-funded Wascana Lake Urban Revitalization Project stopped the deterioration of the 100-year-old lake, improved its water quality and left it more accessible for recreational use.

It also should remove a nasty smell that wafted from the lake toward the nearby legislature on hot summer days.

Crews worked around the clock this winter to remove enough dirt to fill Toronto's SkyDome stadium. The construction site also became a magnet for locals curious to look at the city's most famous hole, which was found to have harboured old car parts and an old horse cart.

The "big dig," as it is known, saw the lake go from an average depth of 1.4 metres to 5.5 metres. On Monday, the hole was to be once again be filled with water.

So intrigued were residents by the process that photos of the construction site were posted on the web to update them on progress at the site, which was roped off to visitors.

"When they drained that lake, they found that in some places, the water was only a foot and a half deep," said Premier Lorne Calvert, who attended Sunday's ceremony along with federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale. "Not much wonder the politicians thought they could walk on water.

A souvenir bag of excavated soil was given to all those who showed up on Sunday.

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