REPORTING · 12th March 2014
Martin Gould and Shaun O’Neill from Kitimat Leisure Services got up at the regular meeting of Council to talk about the replacing the wading pools. This was discussed back in summer 2012 when it was suggested Council replace the wading pools. At the time, the cost for the change was between $75,000 and $250,000.
O’Neill showed the Council several slides of children playing in the wading pools as far back as 1965. “These pools have been in operation since the mid-60s as mentioned here. They’ve had some mediation work as recent as the mid-1990s,” said O’Neill.
He told Council he would be showing them some ideas of how they want to move forward following a consultation meeting with the community. He also had some preliminary budget figures.
He explained the current state of the wading pools, they have been patched and these patches have to be maintained every year, they are lucky to get two years out of a patch but they have re-patch every year. They also have had problems with chipping on the side of the pools, sharp edges and rebar.
At Heron park, there is a Basketball court which is detraining. The Leisure Services is planning to put his back to grass and building a shelter similar to one at the Chilko Playground.
The pools operate on all nice weather days from noon to five pm, Tuesday to Sunday. They have four wading pool leaders with Bronze Medallion, first aid and high five training, 16 years of age. They fill and drain the pools, ensure play area is safe, interact with the public, provide first aid and let their supervisor know about issues.
O’Neill showed Council the pools are well used and the costs of keeping them running. He expressed there have been challenges. The pools are weather dependant, there is a difficulty in attracting staff and the pools are aging.
He showed Council what the future of these pools may look like. He said the public wanted the pools to be accessible for youth with wheelchairs, accommodate as many ages as possible and have interactive water elements such as spray guns and down ward spouts. On the second point, O’Neill told Council the ages using the pools are 6 and under and they would like to accommodate older children as well.
The District designers and came up with two different designs, one for Heron and one for Chilko.
Heron’s park would be a pool with a ramp going into it. There is a plan for a small lazy river in the middle of it, similar to when kids played in the ditches, damming them up and playing with boats. It is targeted at younger kids. The estimated cost to make this park in 2014 is $168,014, but if they build it in 2015, the cost is estimated at $177,000.
Chilko’s Park would have spray guns for older kids. The concept includes an arch which sprays water and a bucket which dumps water every so often. The costs for this park are $360,598 for 2014 and $397,000 for 2016. The reason the cost is so high is because of the equipment which would have to be installed there and extra work with Northern health for permitting.
He recommended putting each park off to the 2015 and 2016 budget respectively. Finally, if they just replace what they currently have, the replacement costs would be $209,150 and $219,000 respectively.
Councillor Rob Goffinet said he liked the water spray park for Chilko. He asked how the little moving parts would stand up to Kitimat’s winter. O’Neill stated it was durable, similar parks were installed in places around BC. In addition, the components can be removed for the winter.
Goffinet asked if the air temperature was all right for children to get sprayed with cold water. O’Neill stated that most days last summer, the children would have been able to handle cold water. In addition, the spray park was not meant for toddlers. Gould pointed out they can turn the water off and on whenever they want. It would be up to the kids to choose to use and not use it.
Goffinet had another question; he wanted to know if both parks were going to have a picnic table. The reply was told Chilko already has one and one was proposed for Heron.
Empinado asked if there were any grants available. O’Neill stated it is possible, but they wanted to bring this forward to Mayor and Council before they started looking.
Councillor Rob Goffinet made a motion to refer the parks modernization to the 2015 budget deliberations and the Chilko spray park to the 2016 deliberations. It was called and carried with no further discussion.