The City of Revelstoke held the first open house regarding building a splash park in town at the community centre last Monday.
The Feb. 29 meeting was well attended, mostly by local parents and families. Founder and head of the splash park initiative, Amanda Hathorn-Geary, as well as Laurie Donato, the city’s director of parks, recreation and culture, were on site to answer questions and explain the presentations.
Armed with red (no) and green (yes) stickers, and sent to information boards, people were encouraged to green light or red light various parks in Revelstoke that could potentially host the splash park. Another board displaying various kinds of splash equipment was enthusiastically covered with green stickers by local children and parents.
“Currently the top contenders regarding location are Farwell Park and Queen Elizabeth Park,” Donato says. Farwell Park, the location the splash park committee has been campaigning for due to the park’s existing history of having a wading pool, and its location away from schools and many private residents, wasn’t the clear front runner. This is in part due to location, as parents found Queen Elizabeth Park appealing due to its proximity to residential areas.
Despite Farwell park having once had a wading pool, Donato said the infrastructure is in in need of massive upgrading.
One parent asked Donato why the city couldn’t just re-open the wading pool to save costs. Donato replied by saying that in addition to upgrades, a wading pool runs on a system similar to the indoor pool, requiring constant maintenance and chemical balancing.
Two design options were presented to council earlier this year: a flow-through system that would cost $378,000 to install, and $22,000 per year to operate; and a recycled-water system that would cost $615,000 to install, but only $8,000 to run.
Hathorn-Geary, who has campaigned for the splash park from its inception, worked with park designers out of Kelowna to price out possible designs and costs. She is pleased with the public feedback and the interest in using the flow-through water system.
Hathorn-Geary has a BA in Outdoor Recreation Parks & Tourism and once worked at the Granville Island splash park in Vancouver. She believes the flow-through design is best for Revelstoke.
“It has much cheaper instalment costs,” she said. “It also requires much less maintenance. As someone who worked at a place that used both systems over time, having a system of water catching and recycling requires daily chemical balancing and a much higher cost of instalment. Water savings are also mitigated quickly when you have to dump reserves due to a dirty diaper in the system.”
The splash park committee hopes to raise the money for the initial costs through fundraising and grants. The city would to take on annual maintenance and water costs. This is another reason Hathorn-Geary is supporting the flow throw option. “Since we are raising the capital for the project, using the flow through system means it’s potentially achievable in three years,” she said. “Otherwise we’re looking at more nine to ten years.”
City council supports the project and will have final say on the splash park’s location, and which water system is used.