Pat McKee has fond memories of her children playing in the wading pool at Farwell Park. She said most local parents do. Because for nearly 30 years, the wading pool there was a place where parents and children interacted with one another.
But that wading pool was decommissioned in 2013, and since then Revelstoke has had no central waterplay facility. And on top of that, the contract the city had with the Dramatic Order of the Knights of Khorassan to maintain the park, (who have taken care of the park for 35 years) expired on Dec. 31.
“If we don’t do something with it,” said McKee, “then it’s just a waste of real estate.”
Those memories of playing in the pool with her children inspired McKee to spearhead an initiative to bring a splash park to Revelstoke last March, something lots of other cities across the province have. In fact Salmon Arm has two. And one in Kimberley was part of a model that the team here in Revelstoke looked to for inspiration.
The local team here in Revelstoke, registered as the Farwell Splash Park Society, have plenty of their own unique ideas as well.
Their design for the splash park is circular, and the hope is that the design makes it more than just a place to escape the heat, but a community meeting space that fosters communication and interaction between parents and children alike.
The society has raised more than $200,000, but they are still about $450,000 shy of their estimated $653,082 budget.
The bulk of the budget, just over $300,000, will be devoted to the installation of the water treatment and play components.
The society expects about $40,000 will be required to prepare the site for development.
But that’s not the important part, said McKee, what’s important is making sure that there is a site in town that is accessible to seniors and young folk alike.
“As of now we have no outdoor waterplay for children within a stroller ride away. You can go to Williamson Lake, but access is very steep, elderly people might have a problem with that, people in wheelchairs might have trouble with that, and for most people you have to drive there,” said McKee. “This is easy access and appropriate for all ages, and it fills a real gap in our community.”
The Farwell Splash Park Society’s four main goals are to “stop the ongoing neglect of the park, replace the wading pool (now removed), provide outdoor water play in Revelstoke, and provide accessible and inclusive enjoyment for all ages, incomes and abilities at no cost to the user.”
The society has received a letter of support from the City of Revelstoke, and they have committed to upgrade the washrooms, walkways, and the gate.
The proposed site of splash park will be located on the same site as the former wading pool.
The society hopes to see the project finished by the summer of 2019, provided they are able to raise the required money to go ahead with construction.