Splash park jumps over next hurdle

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County has given the green light to study a proposal to construct a splash park in High Prairie.

At its regular meeting April 10, council approved a motion to authorize the joint recreation committee of Big Lakes and the Town of High Prairie to move forward to further research and consult residents on a proposal to construct a splash park.

A resident has offered a donation of up to $400,000 to build a splash park, Big Lakes CAO David Reynolds says.

“As this splash park would be under the governance of the joint recreation committee, there could be future expenses incurred by both the Town of High Prairie as well as Big Lakes County,” Reynolds said.

Currently, the committee needs to complete further research and public engagement to determine if the project would be viable, he noted.

“We would need to know the full operational costs,” Reeve Tyler Airth added.

South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart supports the proposal.

“Being located in High Prairie, it would be central,” Stewart said.

Three conceptual drawings were presented by High Prairie recreation director Ramona Rollins to town council at its regular meeting Feb. 27.

Hugh Prairie council approved the project in principle.

The three option projects are estimated to cost $539,000, $642,000 and $748,000.

Where the splash park could be located was quickly asked.

“Jaycee Park is little bit secluded and out of the way,” Rollins said.

She added a site south of the High Prairie Aquatic Centre is preferred.

The donor has also committed to donate $10,000 for operational costs annually for the first five years.

A story in the March 6 South Peace News provided more details of the proposed project.

A recent survey included in the High Prairie and District Recreation Master Plan indicated 56 per cent of respondents supported a splash park based on an estimated cost of $600,000 and annual operations costs of $15,000.

A property tax increment of eight per cent the first year and 0.5 per cent in subsequent years would affect High Prairie taxpayers. Big Lakes taxes would increase 1.12 per cent the first year and 0.07 afterwards.

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