Spray park is a go
Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 08:18 am
Diamond Valley’s youngsters could be cooling off in Turner Valley’s new spray park in as little as four months.
Turner Valley Town councillors unanimously agreed on Jan. 20 to commit $125,000 to the Foothills Lions Club Spray Park if the committee leading the project isn’t able to get a provincial grant to get the project in the ground.
The Foothills Lions Club Spray Park Committee already has $250,000 of the $373,000 it will need to complete the first phase of the project. The committee applied for $125,000 in funding from the Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP). It will know if its request is successful by March 15.
With council’s decision, construction can now begin on the first phase of the park, whether the grant is approved or not.
“It throws validity behind the project to help jump start it, really,” said Coun. Barry Crane, who is also the committee’s chairman, of the decision. “Three years have passed with nothing new being built downtown and this has been much anticipated so even to help it advance two months in schedule with just a commitment letter is huge for the lions club for sure.”
Crane asked council earlier this month to commit $200,000 for the 31,200 square-foot project, proposed east of Dr. Lander Memorial Swimming Pool.
While she supports the project, Coun. Dona Fluter said she wasn’t comfortable contributing $200,000.
“I would like to make sure, in fact, that it is in the budget and it’s not going to be affecting any other projects,” she said. “It’s been indicated to us that grant money is going to come through, but until I see the cheque in the mail I’m a little leery about going the whole amount.”
Crane said the $200,000 would have allowed the committee to complete the spray park entirely, but he was willing to support a lower amount.
“I would be willing to lower that amendment if it pleases everyone and we can build the park,” he said. “If we don’t get the grant it is still a priority of this council, as I understand it, to build this park and get this park in the ground. We will continue fundraising over the next year to complete phase two.”
Crane said waiting to hear if the committee will receive the fund would delay its completion and getting the commitment from the Town will allow the committee to start the project immediately.
“If we wait until March you are not seeing a park until September,” he said. “If this $125,000… goes into this project today or tomorrow we will see it in June.”
The first phase included the construction of the park, related equipment and washrooms with outdoor showers. Phase two consists of beautification, landscaping and the addition of trees, benches and picnic tables.
Turner Valley resident Maureen Nelson initially had concerns about the request. She asked council if it was given a business plan for the project, what the value of the land and infrastructure the Town is supplying for the project is and how much more the Town should be expected to contribute to the spray park.
However, Nelson’s concerns were put to ease after being told the park will be owned by the Town and the $125,000 approved was allocated toward recreation in the 2013 budget.
“That was the big thing for me,” she said. “I left there much more comfortable with what council is doing.”
Mayor Kelly Tuck said a plan was brought to council in 2011 and council agreed to request and include an updated business plan from the spray park committee in the Town’s files.
“I was very pleased that council has asked for a business plan and things put properly in writing before it goes forward,” she said. “It really put my concerns at rest.”
Coun. Barry Williamson said a business plan should have been presented to council, along with the committee’s request, showing a breakdown of the costs as well as a timeline.
“We need to have an update where the project is going,” he said. “We are giving you the land, we are giving you the infrastructure, the whole thing doesn’t feel good because it hasn’t been presented well. It isn’t a good way to arrive at a decision.”