Accessible playground, spray pad originally meant for Regina's North Central to be built on east side

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities agreed to build an inclusive playground and spray pad in Regina's North Central neighbourhood. However, due to the city needing to make a decision on where it will build a new aquatic centre, it will now be built on the east side.  (City of Regina/Twitter - image credit)
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities agreed to build an inclusive playground and spray pad in Regina's North Central neighbourhood. However, due to the city needing to make a decision on where it will build a new aquatic centre, it will now be built on the east side. (City of Regina/Twitter - image credit)

An accessible playground and spray pad originally intended for Regina's North Central neighbourhood will instead be built on the city's east side due to the yet-to-be-determined future of a replacement for the Lawson Aquatic Centre.

On Wednesday, city council voted unanimously to build the $1.2 million structure — to be paid for Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities — in the Glenncairn neighbourhood.

Here's how the city got here.

The deal to construct an inclusive playground and spray pad dates back to Oct. 27, 2021, when council approved entering into an agreement with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.

According to a staff report that went to city council Wednesday, the inclusive structure was originally going to be donated and built at the site of the Sportsplex in North Central in spring 2023 as part of a new aquatic centre.

The idea was that the splash pad would be constructed once enough work and planning had been completed on the aquatic centre — even if it was nowhere near completion.

The plan went off the rails once it became clear that the aquatic centre was no longer going to meet the original timetable.

Staff had originally said the decision to move the playground was the result of the city's catalyst committee, which is tasked with providing recommendations on five major projects that could shape the city's downtown core.

However, during council on Wednesday, staff publicly apologized for the "factual innacuracy" in the report.

Kirk Fraser/CBC
Kirk Fraser/CBC

As a result of the delay with the aquatic facility, city administration met with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, which ultimately decided to move forward with construction in 2023.

Mayor Sandra Masters said the city could end up having to demolish anything built at the Sportsplex site if council chooses to move forward with an aquatic centre at that location.

"You don't want to build something and then and tear it down again," she said in an interview on Tuesday.

"I think whatever gets built, regardless of whether the aquatic centre goes or whatever facility goes anywhere, you're going to see some outdoor accessible playground. This is a bit of a bonus."

With the Sportsplex no longer an option, city administration selected the Glencairn Neighbourhood Centre as the recommended site for the inclusive playground.

Since that is a significant change to the original agreement, it had to be approved by council, according to the staff report.