Splash park works to overcome problems

Ponoka’s splash park has had some challenges in the last few weeks since the town has been handed the keys.

Ponoka’s splash park has had some challenges in the last few weeks since the town has been handed the keys. Town staff have received angry voice messages over the issues but Aquaplex operator Jackie Olson said the issues are being resolved as fast as staff can handle them.

The main issue appears to be over the two holding tanks underground; one captures the dirty used water, and the other is the clean filtered water, which eventually ends up above ground for users to enjoy, explained Olson.

The splash park apparently uses a new design system and Olson has been on the phone with Playquest Recreation — the designer of the park — to try and solve the issue. “Our system is different from other systems so there is a learning curve for the company and town staff.”

In discussion with Playquest it seems the water does not have enough time to make it to the second tank and as a result it starts to suck in air.

“As soon as it sucks in air it automatically will shut down,” stated Olson.

Sucking in air can damage the pump and create a different set of issues for the park. Staff must then reset the system, and Olson said they try to get there as soon as possible, but staff must also ensure they are covering their other duties as well.

Olson worked with Playquest Sept. 7 to get a temporary solution “until we figure out exactly what the problem is” so residents could use it over the warm weekend.

The fix appears to be in the water pressure, which was initially set up at the maximum. Water could not catch up to user demand but Olson has brought the pressure down enough to give the second tank time to catch up.

“We’ll see what that does to the holding tanks,” she explained.

It is trial and error until Olson and the public works department can find a long-term solution. This issue is something Olson wants solved, as she knows there has been excitement over the new splash park. She does however feel it is better to work out the kinks in the fall rather than in the hot summer months.

Olson was pleased to report the temporary fix worked enough so residents were able to take advantage of the park as she was not called to fix it. “It was working all weekend.”

The official closing day for the park is Sept. 16. A Playquest employee will work with staff to find a permanent solution to the problem as well as prepare it for the winter.

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