Despite a hint of snow in the air, the prospects of a new spray park generated enthusiasm at Red Deer’s municipal planning commission meeting Wednesday morning.
Members of the commission voted unanimously to approve development of the recreation facility in the northwest corner of Rotary Recreation Park, not far from the Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre.
“I’m extremely excited about seeing this go ahead,” said Counc. Paul Harris, noting that residents of the adjacent Parkvale neighbourhood expressed an interest in such a park during the last municipal election. “Certainly we would have liked to have seen it last spring, but we’ll just have to be patient.”
“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” agreed Peter Holloway, a citizen representative on the commission.
He observed how well-used the spray fountain and wading pool at Centennial Plaza Park on Alexander Way has been.
Counc. Buck Buchanan sought assurances that members of the community were in favour of the initiative.
Recreation and Parks Department manager Shelley Gagnon said an open house related to the project was held on June 21 and an information session at the 4620 47th Ave. site on Sept. 25, and both generated positive feedback. The Parkvale Community Association has also been supportive, she added.
Plans for the spray park include a large landscaped area with picnic tables and washroom facilities. It’s designed to accommodate up to 325 users, with a variety of water features.
Jim Marke, another citizen representative on the commission, wondered if the proposed 7 p.m. closing time for the spray park might be too early. City project manager Jerry Hedlund said an eight-hour operating cycle running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. has been chosen, but that this schedule could be varied, depending on usage.
Hedlund added that the plans have undergone a high-level CEPTD (crime prevention through environmental design) review, and safety concerns have been considered throughout the development process.
About six trees will have to be removed to make way for the park, he acknowledged, but a replanting program is planned.
City council approved the concept of a spray park last December as one of Red Deer’s 2013 centennial projects.