By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye
If you are looking forward to summer fun in Ponoka, then this news will make you excited.
The Ponoka Splash Park Committee has been working hard for the last 2 1/2 years to raise funds and it has paid off. Leah Cline, committee secretary, said they want to bring something to the community as well as entice new families to the town.
“I am pleased with all the work the people of Ponoka have done,” said Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins, who presented the $125,000 Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) awarded to the Splash Park Committee.
“We are excited that we got this grant,” said Cline.
Prins said this is a project to improve the quality of life in the community, especially for young children, and it will help promote active living.
“I think we need to put way more emphasis on healthy lifestyles,” Prins said.
Splash park committee member Darlene Maas said this was the dealmaker for the team. The committee will update the thermometer at ATB Financial to show new total amounts of $452,000 raised with a need of $48,000.
The Town of Ponoka will connect the utilities for the park and will assume the operating expenses. It will cost approximately $12,000 per year to maintain the recycling system according to the committee.
The committee has hired Questic Consulting from Sherwood Park, specializing in splash park and playground design, which has worked directly with the committee to layout a plan that fits the needs of Ponoka.
“The initial cost is high, but operating costs are lower because they will be using recycled water,” said Curtis Giesbrecht, a manager with Questic Consulting.
Giesbrecht said it is similar to having an underground pool that will feed to the park above. The park is designed to operate with sensors, which when touched, pump water to fountain spouts. The pump shuts off when not in use to help efficiency.
Giesbrecht explained they use local contractors for parts and labor to build the parks.
Cline said the committee plans to begin construction in early spring of 2012 to have their grand opening in July. This grant came just in time before equipment prices go up in the spring, according to Barry Neath, a committee member.
The committee isn’t stopping there. They have two other grant applications pending and will have more information on those grants in November. Cline said the splash park is now a tangible goal and the committee is calling on the community for support and ideas.
“If 480 people donate $100 we’ll have it,” Maas added.