Grey Highlands council has given a cautious thumbs-up to the idea of a splash pad being built in Markdale.
At its meeting on Sept. 6, council unanimously passed a resolution that approved the community-led project in principle and gave the go-ahead to local volunteers to begin raising funds for the splash pad.
The resolution did include the caveat that municipal capital funds for the splash pad would not be spent until full funding for the project had been secured.
The council decision now allows a local community group that has been pushing for the project to move forward to begin collecting community donations and to apply for funding through grant programs.
Mayor Paul McQueen said he was pleased to see the splash pad community group working with the municipality on the project.
“We’re part of the project, but (the community group) have to look for other areas for part of the funding. We’re encouraging, we’re supporting this, but we can’t fund it all,” said McQueen. “This is a good place for council to be in the sense of partners.”
The community group approached council in February about the splash pad. The proposal is to build a 3,100-square-foot splash pad in Markdale’s King Edward Park. Two potential sites within the park have been identified: south of the arena and adjacent to the south side of the basketball court.
Initially, it was hoped that the splash pad could be built at a cost of $300,000. However, staff research into other splash pad projects in Shelburne ($700,000 project cost) and Collingwood ($1.9 million to $2.5 million project cost) indicated that the costs might be higher – depending on the design of the system chosen for Markdale. In the report on the matter, municipal staff and the splash pad project committee agreed a $400,000 budget would be more realistic.
The resolution approved by council also calls for a King Edward Park Master Plan study proposal to come forward during the 2024 budget process.
Coun. Joel Loughead said he hopes the master plan study isn’t an “afterthought” in the process.
“I think King Edward Park needs to have a very fulsome review before we start throwing the better part of a million dollars at it,” said Loughead.
Coun. Nadia Dubyk noted that council should also have a firm understanding of how much money it takes to operate a splash pad after it is built.
“Understanding the ongoing operating costs are important as well, just to ensure we’re building ourselves up for success,” she said.
By Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Sep 13, 2023 at 11:41