LOW ISLAND – Little Current’s Low Island Park may soon be home to a splash pad—a jungle gym of watery adventure, for the uninformed.
As reported previously in this newspaper, Northeast Town council received word from the province that it was approved for a grant of $150,000 for the development of a splash pad, which was cited by the town as a sought-after item by the residents of the municipality.
The Little Current Lions Club had also agreed to chip in $10,000 from its Catch the Ace funds should a grant be secured.
The splash pad went out to tender, with four companies responding: Diamond Head Sprinklers, $179,800 with enhanced features and $159,800 base price; CRCS Recreation, $170,000; ABC Recreation, $179,269.85 with enhanced features and $159,303.70 base price; and New World Park Solutions, $175,000 with enhanced features and $158,000 without. Staff recommended that council accept the $158,000 tender of New World Park Solutions.
CAO Dave Williamson explained that this particular unit would consume approximately nine cubic metres each day through its operation of June to September, eight hours a day. The Little Current water treatment plant’s approved maximum daily volume is 3,400 cubic metres, of which the average daily use is 3,327 cubic metres, leaving 73 cubic metres to work with.
It was explained that the municipality would only be in charge of prepping the land—the rest is up to the company.
Mr. Williamson told council that should water consumption become an issue, the splash pad would simply be turned off. Staff will also be speaking with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to see if the municipality could obtain a permit to run a line from the splash pad to the adjacent beach to draw directly from the lake by way of backup. (The splash pad is set to be located between the grassy area between the pavilion and the beach.)
Councillor Barb Baker asked what the water consumption would cost should the secondary line not be permitted. Mr. Williamson explained that it would cost the municipality $1,000 per month.
Councillor Baker also asked about the risk of vandalism. Mr. Williamson replied that the splash pad structures are not conducive to being vandalized, as they are mostly tall poles, but that the park could be subjected to paint vandals, which is the type of vandalism most often seen by the municipality.
“The water leaving (the splash pad) is untreated and goes back to the lake?” Councillor Jim Ferguson asked, querying if that poses issues. Mr. Williamson replied that it did not.
Councillor Ferguson suggested signage reminding users that no soap or bubbles is allowed in the area, reminding council the ill effects phosphorous has on the aquatic environment.
Mr. Williamson explained that the runoff will first go into a ditch and then into the lake.
Councillor Bruce Wood questioned the splash pad’s winterization process. He was told that it will be designed so that antifreeze can be pumped through it in the fall.
Councillor Al Boyd asked about the sand that will be brought into the splash pad and what affect this might have on the drainage system. It was noted that a foot rinsing station will be placed in the pavilion which will hopefully alleviate some of the problem.
Councillor Laurie Cook asked if the splash pad would mean additional insurance costs to the municipality. Mr. Williamson said it would not mean any further costs.
“What’s the total cost of operation?” Councillor Ferguson asked. Mr. Williamson said he estimates an initial $5,500 for the first year (including water), noting that the cleanup will be done by the student workers from the municipally-run Spider Bay Marina and that installation costs will likely run about $3,800.
“How do we rationalize wasting this amount of water when we ask people to conserve; how do we do this?” Councillor Cook asked.
Councillor Erskine said he didn’t see this as a problem as the water being pulled from the lake is also being returned to the lake.
Councillor Cook asked for a recorded vote.
Councillors Erskine, Bill Koehler, Baker, Boyd, Ferguson, Wood and Mayor Al MacNevin voted in favour of accepting the tender. Councillor Cook voted against. Councillor Dawn Orr was not in attendance. The motion to accept the splash pad tender was carried.
Work on the splash pad is expected to begin in mid-July with the hope that it is finished in time for Haweater Weekend.