Playground committee ready to make a splash

The committee that, in 2011, raised $114,000, in just six months, and brought together 200 volunteers to build a beautiful new playground in Earl Baker Park, now has their sights set on a splash pad. 

The playground was phase one of the project, and now is the time to move on to phase two – the splash pad.

“During the playground building process, the question that everyone was asking then, was can we include a splash pad,” Michael Domanko of the South Dundas Community Playground Committee told council at the February 4, meeting, when he presented a plan detailing the proposed project.

A splash pad is a zero depth aquatic structure combining water movement – flowing, spraying, jetting, misting – for children’s play. 

Because there is no standing water, there is no requirement to have a lifeguard and the flow of water means that it is not subject to the same testing requirements as a pool. It uses municipally treated water that is not re-circulated.

The structure envisioned by the committee would cost about $200,000. The committee already has $40,000 of that in place, and asked South Dundas to approve a dollar for dollar funding request to match up to $25,000 of those funds. The group also plans to apply for funding through various sources, and to fund raise.

Communities throughout the region (South Stormont, Cornwall, Brockville) have these types of structures, and area residents with children are travelling to those communities to use those splash pads. Domanko said that often families are then spending their dollars in those communities rather than here.

In his presentation he discussed the positive recreational, health, economic and social benefits this project.

Once the splash pad is up and running, Domanko’s research shows that operational costs would be about $7,000-$8,000 annually.

Council had no problem agreeing to the $25,000 contribution, and were impressed with the very thorough presentation.

“I have no doubt this will happen,” commented South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke.

“This is a nice concept,” said South Dundas councillor Jim Graham. “What a great draw for younger families. I certainly support your efforts. This really makes great use of the park area.”

“What a great addition this will be,” said South Dundas councillor Evonne Delegarde. 

South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds, had no issues with the dollar for dollar funding request. “The next step is up to the community,” he said. “If they want it, they will support it.”

From now until August, the committee plans to get kids and their parents engaged in the project, and to fundraise while getting all approvals and quotes in place to coordinate the project launch.

Their plan in to have the splash pad installed and completed by fall.

Once complete, the splash pad would be turned over to the municipality for maintenance and operations.

The committee envisions the splash pad fitting well with the ‘high-end’ look of the park, choosing finishes that blend nicely with the landscape rather than bold primary colours. It would include an above grade cabinet to house the operations systems. The cabinet will be camouflaged with strategic plantings.

The system will be on a timer to allow it only to activate during certain hours, and is activated only when children are there to use the splash pad.

Discussions about the potential need for on-site washroom facilities did take place, as the closest facilities  are at the Morrisburg dock. The committee feels this issue is beyond the scope of their project, although as a short-term solution, if the need arose, they could look at a portable washroom, again well camouflaged in its surroundings.

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