The numbers are stopping them cold.
Petrolia councillors all say a splash pad would be a great asset to the town, but a recent report by town staff outlining the cost is raising concerns.
Dave Menzies, director of community service, gets requests from residents for a kids water park. They often comment that smaller communities, like Wyoming and Brigden have a splash pad. He’s has been researching a splash pad for a number of years and on Monday he updated council on what a facility would cost.
Menzies estimates there are 1,000 kids in Petrolia who could use a splash pad. It could be available for 18 weeks of the year.
Just to build a pad would cost about $185,000. But Menzies says there is more to it than that. The cost doesn’t include hooking into the town’s water system or landscaping, nor does it include the $150,000 system which would be needed to recycle the water being used. Many local municipalities don’t do that.
In his report, Menzies suggests there should be someone on site each day ($20,900) and the cost each month for running the splash pad could cost up to $27,000 – mostly because of the sewage rate which would be charged to the water. And he says the town might have to consider building some change rooms which he estimates could cost $125,000.
“The numbers kind of stopped me cold,” said Councillor Mary Pat Gleeson.
Councillor Ross O’Hara agreed. “It is quite a bit of money to build it,” he says adding community groups and businesses would likely donate to see the park built. “It’s maintaining it that’s when the cost hits you.”
“I’m quite surprised by the monthly cost,” added Councillor Liz Welsh.
And while the cost are concerning, Councillor Tim Brown says other, smaller communities have been able to make it work.
And while Councillor Joel Field likes the idea of a splash pad, he was “confused” about why council was now considering the idea since just two years ago it shelved a 10-year backyard plan at the Oil Heritage District Community Centre which included a splash pad.
“We had free money for engineering then…Are we saying we’ll do this?”
O’Hara suggested this was too large of a financial decision to make any moves now. He suggested, and council agreed, the concept should be discussed during the 2017 budget deliberations slated for later this year.