Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spray Park Society makes presentations to both Pincher Creek councils

Toni Lucas

Pincher Creek Spray Park Society Co-chair Jennifer Draper appeared before Town council on Monday, May 9 and Municipal District Council on Tuesday, May 10, with Co-chair Billi Rigaux also in attendance.  Their presentations included information about the plans and actions the society has undertaken to this point, including an overview of site possibilities, fundraising, and engineering considerations.  The society was formally formed a year ago.  "What we would really like to do is to lock down a lot," Draper told Town council.  "We would like to nail down a budget, and we really need to know where we are going to do this.  In order to apply for grants we kind of need to know where we are putting this." Town council committed to an upcoming decision-making meeting, and MD council asked to be kept informed about the project.

"Originally when we did our society we did a date for July 1, 2016," said Draper. "We pushed our date to July 1, 2017."

Rhe society has evaluated 23 properties to assess the advantages, disadvantages, and applicable criteria of the potential sites.

At a public meeting on February 4, 2015 the public was invited to vote for preferred site choices, resulting in Central Park, Juan Teran Park, Heron Park and Matthew Halton High School  as the top public choices. Also under consideration were areas close to the current pool area. According to Draper and Rigaux, until they have a decision on a site the society can do little more forward planning, as they do not know what the actual variables of the chosen site will be.

The society has been fundraising for the project, with bottle drives, barbecues, kids carnivals, bake sales and other vending opportunities. Their  most successful fundraising venture to date was the 'A Splash of Romance Luau' held at the Pincher Creek Community Centre on February 13 of this year, which was attended by approximately 150 people. "I believe we are up to $20,000 dollars (raised)" , said Draper. Almost every month since our incorporation of the society, we have had a fundraiser of some sort."

So far all the grants the society has tried to access have been denied, but they're still applying for grants.  Draper said the spray park is currently writing a proposal to Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) for a Community Spaces Fund grant for up to $25,000.  At the MD meeting Draper was asked where the society has been looking for funds.  She mentioned the Canada 150 grant, FCL Community Spaces, Farm Credit Canada, Shell,  and Alberta Blue Cross.  She said the society do not currently have the funds in place to apply for Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant, or for a grant from the Southern Alberta Foundation, as each of those require 70% of the funding or more to be in place before an application will be accepted.  The society has a target  of $350,000 - $450,000 to cover the total costs of installing the park.

The society has had presentations from playground designers Vortex Water Features and Water Management System. and PlayWorks.

Town Councillor Doug Thornton asked if the water would be recycled. Draper said this has been discussed, however the recommendation is to use a flow through system as the costs involved for a recycling system are prohibitive. "It would take 40-50 years... for us to even start seeing a payback on the recycled water." She explained the water can only be recycled a certain number of times before it cannot be used again. Thornton reminded Draper of the voluntary water reductions that happened in Pincher Creek just last summer. "We understand that. If it came to us having to shut the site down to reduce water, we understand the spray park will be the very first thing to be shut down."

Mayor Anderberg said he wanted to see this become a shovel ready project. Councillor Barber asked if the Municipal District of Pincher Creek had been approached. "Tomorrow," said Draper (the Town council meeting was held a day before the MD council meeting).

The Town of Pincher Creek had committed $100,000 toward the project.

During the presentation to council for  Municipal District of Pincher Creek, MD Councillor Terry Yagos said there is a capital fund for recreation, and suggested the society make a joint funding proposal in the fall.  The joint funding process is used for projects and facilities that are funded by both the own and the Municipal District.

In answer to a question from MD Reeve Brian Hammond, Draper explained that the water park will be connected to Pincher Creek's sewer system for disposal of used water.  

Council for the Town of Pincher Creek decided to have the Town's administration arrange a meeting with council members, the Spray Park Society, and the Recreation Board to move the project forward.  Reeve Hammond thanked the delegation for their presentation and requested that the MD be kept informed about the project as it progresses.

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