Petrolia Kiwanis wants to make a splash (pad)

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SUBMITTED PHOTO The splash pad being supported by the Petrolia Kiwanis Club at the Oil Heritage Community Centre.

Petrolia’s newest service club has come up with a community project which is expected to make quite a splash.

Members of the Petrolia Kiwanis Club were at Petrolia Council Monday offering to partner with the town to build a splash pad at the Oil Heritage Community Centre.
Kiwanis President-Elect Tara Manchester says there are a number of surveys which point out the desire for the children’s water park – including the town’s own recreation master plan.

“A community survey administered in November 2019 indicated that the town should proceed with the development of a splash pad. The Parks and Recreation master plan September 2020 identifies a township proceed with the development of a splash pad,” she says. Manchester added 74 per cent of people supported the development of a splash pad in Petrolia.

“Children and youth are being encouraged to trade indoor time for outdoor time. Spending more time being active and less time being sedentary helps children perform better in school, learn new skills and improve self-confidence,” the club said in its presentation.

The Petrolia Kiwanis Club has worked with a company called WaterPlay to come up with a plan for the town. It would cost about $150,000.

Manchester is suggesting the town would foot the bill to start with the local Kiwanis Club paying it back over six years.

The club is also prepared to pay the operating costs, estimated at about $15,000 a year for water.

Mayor Brad Loosley was excited about the proposal saying it was nice to see a group come forward not just looking for amenities but offering to help pay for them.
But he did voice concern about the need for washrooms. Manchester says the Kiwanis Club has already looked into that.

“They have mobile washrooms and change rooms where they bring it in. It is very easy to hook water up into it. And then through the wintertime, if need be, we can take it away and store and bring back. It’s very cost effective and something our Kiwanis Club is looking to fund raise for that cost.”

The town has discussed the idea of a splash pad a number of times. In 2016, Director of Facilities and Community Services, Dave Menzies brought a report to council suggesting it would cost a lot more to build and maintain a splash pad than the Kiwanis now estimate.

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 at the time, Menzies said the town might have to consider building some change rooms which he estimates could cost $125,000.

While most councillors like the idea, they weren’t ready to sign on the dotted line.
Council agreed the proposal has merit and should be investigated further. The Community Services Committee will look at it in the next few months.

Councillor Grant Purdy suggested Kiwanis look at partnering with other groups, like Parents for Parks. Manchester says they have talked to other service clubs which have expressed an interest in helping with the project.

“I’ve always been a big proponent, since I’ve been on council in 2014, of the splash pad. I think the difference now is that we actually have a service club that’s demonstrating a commitment and willing to put that on paper, which I think would help,” says Purdy.

“I realize it’s not going to happen overnight. There’s a lot of logistics to work out on things, but I think it definitely has merit.”