Where will Agassiz put a water park?

Public invited to come out to Monday meeting on proposed plan

Agassiz may one day have a splash park, similar to those found in communities like Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

And next Monday, the public is invited to listen to discussions about where that park could go. An open meeting of the committee of the whole will start at 5 p.m. in the District of Kent’s council chambers.

Mayor Lorne Fisher says now that there are pending grant monies for the proposed project, it’s time to discuss the details further.

“We need to discuss it now, so if we’re fortunate enough to get a grant we’ll know where to put it, what to do with parking, that sort of thing,” he says.

Community Services director Kerry Hilts listed reasons for the park in a report to council, which were discussed at Monday’s regular council meeting.

They include free access to aquatic activities that are considered safer than the natural waterways, such as lakes, rivers and streams.

Free family water activities don’t exist within the District at this time, the report says.

Hilts’ report also says a typical water park uses less water than five homes running sprinklers, and could also become a destination spot for families.

The plan for a splash park stems from a 2008 Leisure Needs Assessment, meant to gauge what the community hoped for.

Of those who answered the survey, 62 per cent wanted more aquatic programming, 78 per cent wanted more family and children programming and 67 per cent wanted more affordable recreation in the District.

The Monday meeting will discuss factors including water supply, parking needs, washroom facilities and electrical costs. Also to be discussed are issues of growth, and how the proposed plan fits into future development.

The budget for this plan is currently about $312,400, with $62,400 coming from development cost charges and a quarter million potentially coming from the province’s Towns for Tomorrow grant program. Towns for Tomorrow is the same program that provided the bulk of the funding for the recent renovations at Harrison Memorial Hall.

Also to be discussed at Monday’s meeting is the FVRD’s Experience the Fraser project, which is meant to connect communities from Hope to Vancouver, along the Fraser River.

Last month, councillor John Van Laerhoven and Hilts attended a meeting in Abbotsford that listed several projects that will potentially affect Agassiz.

FVRD staff have said in the past that the Experience the Fraser project will take several years to complete. They are currently in the planning stages and several trails and dykes in the District of Kent are within the project’s scope. The meeting is expected to run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.