The unanimous motion came after a delegation made its proposal for the project which has been talked about for years in the past, with it now really getting traction with the resident support behind it.
“The Town of Taber has been built upon water so what better way to showcase where we came from than with a splash park,” said Bruce Warkentin, a member of the 11-member Taber Spray Park committee who was on hand to present the splash pad proposal to recreation board members.
“Splash parks are a great way to appeal to families. There is no admission, it’s free entertainment, it brings people to town. It’s great to have one here in town where it adds to the quality of life and it can attract young families to stay in our town. We’ve seen this distinct demographic decrease in the ages 18 to 25 where most people leave town. We want to try and reverse that.”
The Taber Spray Park committee is made of various interests that would aid in the development of the park once the shovels hit ground for a projected start date of May 1 if town council green lights it, where the park would eventually be open June 18 next year. The committee is made of Sam DeVlieger (Ground Tech), Mark Garner (Century 21), Tamara Miyanaga (Skykate Farms), and Brandon Gibb (Baldry Sugden).
Kyle Gouw (Gouw Quality Onions).
Marten DeVlieger, Warkentin (MNP), Casey Gouw (gouw Quality Onions), Ben Koersen (Kiwanis), Steve Vangeest (Pinnacle Landscaping) and Sharla Kane.
“We have people in place that are familiar with projects of this size or much larger than this size,” said Warkentin, highlighting such past initiatives at the Taber Skateboard Park and motocross track. “We want to get the ball rolling and there is definitely support for this project.”
The Taber Spray Park Facebook page has nearly 1,100 members in which volunteer, legal expertise and prominent business people are willing to contribute to it according to documentation provided to recreation board members.
The Taber Water Park committee is partnering with the local Kiwanis Club to open up avenues for grant funding.
“Instead of being a society for a period of time, we thought why not partner up with Kiwanis. One of the reasons was if you look at the Coaldale (spray) park, they structured their project under the Kinsmen who then turned it over to the town,” said Warkentin. “The Kiwanis here is a similar type of organization and having a secondary entity that is trusted, it gives more credibility if people are giving money to it.”
The Taber Spray Park is recommended to be at Confederation Park in downtown Taber where it has 102 parking stalls as locations at Park 75 on 58th Avenue and Majestic Park on 58th Ave. were also exp-lored as possible locations.
“We believe in building a hub of activity. Being by the skate park it develops a place where there is a lot of parking and different activities to do The project accounts for washroom facilities which is what is sort of missing now from the skate park,” said Warkentin.
Other positives to the location would be children not having to cross the street for various activities situated at the park for safety reasons, it becomes a multipurpose site with various other activities near by, easy access to electrical, sewer and water hook ups, closeness to the downtown core, easy visitor access and being highly visible to the community as noted in the committee package to the recreation board.
A total budget of $350,000 is being estimated for the Taber Spray Park proposal which includes purchase of splash equipment, service tie-ins, engineered base improvements to drainage and gravel, landscaping, washroom and mechanical rooms and installation of splash pad items.
Riverbend Rock Products, Rod’s Construction Service, Taber Home and Farm Centre, McNally Contractors and Ground Tech have already agree din principle to donate in kind services to the project if it were to go forward according to Taber Splash Park documentation submitted to the recreation board.
“You add it all up and we already have about $100,000 of the $350,000 that is needed for the budget and that is just with some preliminary calls. One comment on that to take into consideration is what is here this year may not be there next year. Things change, finances change, companies come and go. This may not be here if we wait for two or three years.”
The committee wants to mirror what Coaldale did with its spray park where funding will solely be looked after by committee members through canvassing donations and applying for grant funding where upon completion on the donated parcel of land it will be turned over to the town for future maintenance.
“There are various people who believe in this in wanting to give entertainment to families. It would be within the realm of feasibility that we can raise that money even if the grants aren’t available in the next few months,” said Warkentin. “We know the government isn’t writing cheques right now and we discussed that in detail how this would work if that was not available.”
Research and discussion with the Town of Coaldale indicates a non-recyclable water system is desirable. It is estimated 1.5 hours of labour a day would be required to operate the splash pad water treatment system with an approximate monthly cost of $2,250 dedicated to labour manning the system. Currently, the Town of Taber water rate is $1.02 QM. Based on Coaldale water usage, the splash pad water usage is equivalent to the volume of water released by EPCOR when they flush six fire hydrants per year.
“We’re not talking about a significant amount of water, plus there is the assurance that someone is not screwing up in testing water with another system and kids are drinking the water they get sick. There are extra costs associated with that,” said Warkentin.