Choices to be made for spray park

Public asked for opinion on where to put family water play area

The public is being asked for their input on a possible spray park location in Agassiz.

Mayor Lorne Fisher and council members were recently presented with several potential locations for a spray park — an amenity residents can look forward to if a Towns for Tomorrow grant comes through.

Council seemed to favor Pioneer Park and two locations in Centennial Park, although the latter proved more popular for a number of reasons.

Council bandied about the locations for about a half hour. Centennial Park, while not visible to most tourists, already has washroom access and close proximity to other recreations services such as ball diamonds, the skate park, the Fitness Activity Centre and the outdoor pool.

Council’s long term vision is to also have an indoor pool on that site.

There are two locations at Centennial, one at an area near the front of the property, and the second behind the parking lot.

The estimated cost of hooking up to water services would be $20,000, at either Centennial Park location, Director of Community Services Kerry Hilts pointed out.

Pioneer Park was also discussed. And while council didn’t strike down the idea, they did bring up several negative points against that location.

While Pioneer Park is highly visible, Councillor Darcy Striker pointed out that parking downtown is already at a premium

He, along with the rest of council, also voiced concern that anymore development of Pioneer Park would equal the loss of valued green space.

Councillor Ken Schwaerzle, who also sits on the Fall Fair board, says that having a water park at the Centennial Park site shouldn’t hamper operation of the fair, namely the midway.

“I don’t think it would matter to the midway,” he said. “It may even be beneficial that way.”

They also discussed what many councillors said was  “a high cost” for a small park.

The estimated costs of such a project is about $270,000 plus taxes, based on an analysis by van der Zalm + associates.

Towns for Tomorrow offers up to 80 per cent of the cost of infrastructure development. For a project of the estimated cost of the spray park, that would equal a grant of about $216,000. The district’s portion of the total would come from development cost charges. A contingency budget of $25,000 is already included.

Hilts says two thirds of the total budget would cover the costs of items such as engineering and installation, while one third of the budget would cover the actual play features.

Hilts expects to hear more about the grant request “mid to late April if we’re lucky.”

A member of the public asked about the expected cost of maintenance, and the answer was “$1,500 to $2,000” a year, and that work would be handled by Public Works crews.

If the grant is approved, the issue will still go through more public consultation before any final decisions are made, CAO Wallace Mah assured.

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