Much anticipated splash park opens, softly

There are some families who have found excuses to drive by the splash park to see if construction was finished and parents could be heard

Shaquille Saddleback enjoys the first day of operations for the Ponoka splash park Aug. 13.

There are some families who have found excuses to drive by the splash park to see if construction was finished and parents could be heard asking each other and the splash park committee when it would be ready.

The wait is over.

After a wet spring that put construction back by more than a month, the splash park is open, unofficially.

Splash park committee member Leah Cline had one word to sum up her feelings. “Amazing!”

A grand opening is planned for next spring, but it is operational. “It’s done and ready to run, so we might as well use it.”

Landscaping is the last of the major projects for the park, which is one of the reasons residents will see a temporary orange fence to protect the area around the park. Cline is most proud of the work Kinsmen, the Kinettes and the Lions Club of Ponoka have done to get the park splashing.

“It’s such a great accomplishment seeing the three groups working together,” she stated.

Her children had a chance to test out the many different options Aug. 7, while Donald Doucette, field service technician for Vortex — the company that manufactures the splash park equipment — tested the water pressure.

The difference for this park compared to others is the amount of features.

“I like the fact that there’s a lot of play features on this pad,” he said.

The challenge was the weather, which set the construction company back five to six weeks, explained Doucette.

Pumping 180 to 200 gallons per minute out of a 3,000-gallon holding tank, park-goers have a foot and a hand activation sensor, which then turns on the pump. There are zones of the pad designed for different age groups, so both young and older kids can enjoy it.

“Everything’s working good,” said Doucette.

Director of community services, Wes Amendt, said they had a two-to three-hour training session for the splash park’s operators Aug. 8. Water samples were sent to Alberta Health as well to ensure PH and chlorine levels were safe, and Amendt ensured they were sent out express to get a response as soon as possible.

He feels the many groups working together to complete the park is something special. “It’s been a group effort with the town, county, and the splash park committee.”

Children could be seen at the park Aug. 13 when the pumps were turned on and activated. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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