LITTLE CURRENT – Well over 100 people of all ages were present at Low Island Park Thursday afternoon, August 1, whether enjoying some time at the playground, taking in sailing instructions or the long-awaited main event: the grand opening of the Little Current splash pad.
The kids knew what time it was and as the clock struck 1 pm, Zachary Pulsifer—who had been waiting in the park since 10 that morning—ran over to Mayor MacNevin and urged him to get on with the opening.
“On behalf of the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, it’s my pleasure to take part in the opening of the Little Current splash pad,” said Mayor Al MacNevin.
He acknowledged the funding from the Ontario Trillium fund worth $150,000 and the Little Current Lions Club’s donation of $10,000.
“We were able to cover 95 percent of the costs with the funding we received,” said Mayor MacNevin. “I’m looking forward to all these kids enjoying the splash pad all summer.”
Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha spoke next on behalf of the province and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
“This is not only great for the kids and youth here, but for adults like me who are young at heart to enjoy,” said Mr. Mantha, who added that this new attraction would give young people an opportunity to spend more time outside using Low Island’s amenities such as the sports fields, slides, waterfront and sand, rather than cooped up indoors with electronics.
“The Ontario Trillium Foundation, hats off to them because they got it right. They’ve made great investments here on Manitoulin Island and on the North Shore,” said Mr. Mantha. “A job well done.”
Mr. Mantha called the children to gather with him and he headed into the freshly poured concrete circle adorned with all manner of colourful metal water dispersion apparatuses. He corralled them into a big mass for a selfie underneath an overhead sprayer and then they tried to decide how to count down the official start.
While they were deep in their deliberations, Mayor MacNevin coyly activated the push-button start and everyone was soon doused with an icy, refreshing spray. The sound of joyous screams filled the air as the kids spread out and explored the many unique elements within the grounds.
There were ‘geyser’ jets that shot water up from the ground, towers that offered either horizontal or vertical streams of water, a pair of pivoting water guns and even a dual bucket dumper.
Mr. Mantha disappeared shortly after the waterworks began but soon made his way back inside the splash pad area sporting a pink flamingo around his waist and another small one atop his hat. He got into position and tested the bucket dumper to much laughter from the children.
After they had received a good soaking, the children could enjoy a cupcake to help celebrate the occasion.
The Expositor caught up with Kayde Eadie on her way to grab a cupcake. She said she had previously gone to a splash pad in Elliot Lake.
“It’s fun and it’s so cold,” she said with a big smile. Her favourite element was the dump bucket.
Zachary, who had waited for hours to be the first on the splash pad, could hardly contain his excitement. What he lacked in lengthy responses to this reporter’s questions he certainly made up for in enthusiasm.
What he liked about the splash pad? “Shooting!” What he enjoyed doing with his friends? “Spray ‘em!” How he felt about having something like this in his town? “So excited!”
Judging by the turnout of well over 50 kids who were present within the first half hour of the grand opening, the Low Island splash pad will offer hours upon hours of amusement for years to come.