Municipality won’t float splash pad this year


By Barb McKay


Plans are well underway for a new splash pad at Lions Park, but the new summer play area likely won’t be a reality for at least two years.


At its meeting last Wednesday, Kincardine council made the difficult decision to postpone giving funds to the Kincardine Lions Club until it has more money available to justify the contribution. The splash pad is the first project on the Lions Club’s 10-year improvement plan list for the park at the Davidson Centre and is estimated to cost $625,000, including engineering, roadwork and the construction of public washrooms.


“Our objective is to provide a premier destination for families,” John McManus, of the Kincardine Lions, told council. He said the club hopes to open the splash pad in July 2014.


He noted that the club is at a critical point in the process to secure an Ontario Trillium grant and attract major donors. The club is looking for commitment from the municipality to be involved in the project.


“I know as well as anyone the constraints we’re facing this year,” said councillor Ken Craig. “We’ve faced some difficult decisions related to projects.”


He added that he supports the club’s plan particularly in light of planned improvements to the road leading to the Davidson Centre from Durham Street.


The Lions Club has already raised $40,000 to put towards the project and has gained a number of community partners, including Canadian Tire, Crabby Joe’s and the Bruce Steakhouse. The Lions have also set up penny jars at Canadian Tire, the Kincardine BIA office, Chamber of Commerce office and at myFM and have set a goal of collecting one million pennies. The club is also looking for sponsors whose names will be displayed on a donor wall around the splash pad.


The Lions Club is looking to cover 40 per cent of the project cost and is asking the municipality to chip in 60 per cent for the first year site work and engineering. The municipality would also be expected to complete the necessary roadwork and tie in sewer service for the public washrooms. The first year cost would be approximately $143,000, of which the Lions would pay $30,000.


Year two of the splash pad construction will be the most significant and will include constructing the physical splash pad and washroom facilities. The cost to the municipality would be $264,000 and the Lions would pick up $176,000. In the third year, the Lions would add finishing touches, including landscaping and a picnic shelter at an overall cost of $40,000.


“I don’t know if we can keep up with that schedule,” said deputy mayor Anne Eadie. “It’s that middle figure that I have a problem with.”


She acknowledged that the entrance to the property does need attention, however, and should be made a priority.


Mayor Larry Kraemer agreed that the project may be moving too fast for the municipality to keep up with.

“It’s a great project,” he said. “I’m just not sure we can do it this year.”


Kincardine Lions member Ken Fair said the club is planning to apply for an Ontario Trillium grant this year and needs some commitment from the municipality that the project can move forward.


During its budget deliberations that same evening council agreed that it could not allocate money to begin construction this year, but set aside $100,000 in a reserve fund for the splash pad. Roadwork at the Davidson Centre entrance will also be given high priority for the 2014 budget.