Wednesday is a scorcher and there’s no water in Red Deer’s Centennial Park Plaza Pool. It’s not due for redevelopment until 2022. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Redevelopment of downtown Red Deer wading pool on hold until 2022

Most other city water features already open

Water features across Red Deer are being readied for summer use — except for the former wading pool in Centennial Plaza Park.

The kiddie pool on 52nd Avenue, between 45th and 48th Streets and near the downtown McDonald’s restaurant, will remain empty for a third season — and probably until 2022.

That’s when the pool is slated for redevelopment, according to the City of Red Deer’s 10-year capital plan, said the city’s parks superintendent Trevor Poth.

The circular shallow pool was closed at the end of the 2015 season because a major infrastructure upgrade was required to its fountains by the province. (A parent had previously made the controversial criticism that it had become a “bum bath” for the city’s homeless population).

A redevelopment plan was completed after a public survey was done. But Poth said the plan has not been presented to city council yet, since no money was allocated for the project in the last several tight budgets.

As many of the surveyed residents had asked for some kind of water feature in the downtown park that also contains a vintage city fountain, park benches and decorative arches, it could mean a spray feature is eventually install to replace the wading pool, he added.

But this will be four years away, unless the project is moved up the funding list.

Meanwhile, Red Deer children have other free ways to cool off, including at the Blue Grass Spray and Play near the Golden Circle and the Kin Kanyon cement “volcano,” which are both already open. There’s also Discovery Canyon at the River Bend Golf Course, which was fully upgraded and will start running on the first weekend of June.

Poth said a couple of parks-related construction projects are underway this spring and summer.

The 2019 Canada Winter Games Committee is overseeing the creation of a Games Plaza in front of the old Central Elementary School (which is being turned into the city’s new Cultural Services building).

And in the Riverlands area, the City of Red Deer is working on the Canada 150 Square, a public gathering space that will be connected to the parks and trails by a riverfront park development near Ross Street (southwest of Superstore).

Poth said both are expected to be completed this fall.

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