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Monday, February 9, 2015

Planning for Pincher Creek splash park moves forward

Community Services Director Diane Burt-Stuckey and Recreation Manager Adam Grose
Toni Lucas - A public meeting was held Wednesday, February 4 in the Pincher Creek Town Hall gymnasium to discuss the possibilities around constructing a splash park in Pincher Creek. Approximately 25 citizens attended the meeting, which was led by Director of Community Services Diane Burt-Stuckey and Pincher Creek Recreation Manager Adam Grose.  They began by explaining that the idea was spearheaded by Jennifer Pierzchala-Draper.  She started a Facebook page promoting the idea that a splash park in Pincher Creek would be a good thing for the community. Draper was in attendance at the meeting. She said she takes her three boys to splash parks in other communities, and sees them as a value-added proposition for those communities, bringing in visitors and even new residents.

Draper received 285 responses to her Facebook page, most of them positive. She approached Town Council on September 11, 2013 to tell them of the community's support for the idea, relaying the feedback she  received and some information about costs, after investigating and finding out that Fernie has a spray park that cost $350,000 and required approximately 4 hours a week in operating manpower.

Since then the Town of Pincher Creek has moved forward with her idea, doing some investigating of their own.. Burt-Stuckey and Grose presented some of the pros and cons of different water systems, including recirculated and flow-through water systems, and discussed a third possibility of a grey water system that was proposed at the meeting. One of the key items discussed were possible sites for the water park. Although all suggestions were discussed, they were also weighted by what amenities currently exist on or in close proximity to each site, such as potable water and washrooms / infrastructure for water access and disposal, parking, lighting, picnic benches and playground equipment, walking access, and sun/wind protection.

3 year old Jet Draper chose his second  favourite options of splash park locations with  his Mom Jennifer
T. Lucas photos

Burt-Stuckey and Grose heard from various people in attendance as ideas were exchanged.  At the end of the discussion participants were encouraged to vote for their first and second favourite potential locations. Five possible sites had already been chosen prior to the meeting and the group discussion brought forward another four choices. The top choice by far was Pincher Park behind Town Hall. Some other choices were Juan Teran Park, Heron Park close to the new MD building, Matthew Halton High School's grounds, and two different locations at the Multi-purpose Facility on Main Street. Other sites proposed at the meeting included Wentworth Park, an area south of the Stardust Motel close to Highway 6, and sites close to Crestview Lodge and Vista Village.

Other items were discussed including the cost of the system, whether it can be expanded on in the future, and possible in-kind donations for supplies, expertise, and equipment. Grose and Burt-Stuckey explained that there were various approaches for construction, from hiring the equipment suppliers to handle everything to having a single project co-coordinator work with local contractors, volunteers, and representatives from the equipment suppliers to to ensure all stages meet with code and warranty specifications. They supplied information on the costs of three existing water parks:
  • Waterton $395,000 150 square metres
  • Taber Spray Park $470,000 465 square metres
  • Strathcona Island $635,000 250 square metres
"Town Council has committed $100,000 toward this project," said Mayor Don Anderberg, who was in attendance. "We look at this as a community project."  Councillor Wayne Elliott was also in attendance, and expressed his enthusiasm for the idea.

Jennifer Pierzchala-Draper is excited by the commitment from the Town of Pincher Creek towards the project. When she approached Council she believed the community would be able to raise the funds required if the Town of Pincher Creek could supply the land. "I feel pretty positive about this,"said Draper. "I am excited to be the one that got the ball rolling in the right direction. I'm looking forward to getting it going." Her three boys (8, 7, and 3 years old) attended the meeting and voted for their site choices. "I won't have to leave town to keep them occupied, so I will get more done."

Not everyone who attended the meeting commented, but of those who did none objected to the project.

Anyone interested in this project is welcome to attend the next meeting to be held Wednesday, March 4. For more information contact the Recreation Office at 403-627-4322 or email rec@pinchercreek.ca .

Jet, Jaydon and Jayce are all in favour of a water park


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