Next month council will make a decision on the long-awaited Spray Park Shades capital project.
A report will come back to council on July 6 with a revised capital budget 2021-2025 that reflects a Parks and Trails Major Reserve funding contribution of up to $20,000 for the project.
“We’re looking forward to this. If it has to start in the fall, it has to start in the fall but it’s over and done with. The community wanted us to get this done,” said Mayor Marcel Michaels.
The project is currently budgeted at $40,000, but the Town has been anticipating a donation from the Prom Association (legacy committee), related to Harry Collinge High School graduation.
The Legacy Committee indicated in 2020 that they wanted to donate the remainder of their legacy fund to fund a shade project for the community and enhance the safety of future spray park visitors.
Their donation is expected to be approximately $25,000, but it’s still unclear how much they are able to contribute. Without any other grants, the Town needs to secure $40,000 to finance the full scope of the intended project.
The Legacy Committee has not been able to get together due to COVID-19, which means that details around their contribution and decisions about the project itself have not been discussed.
“We’re looking at this more as a partnership project where we’re partnering with them, it’s not all about just getting the money and we decide what we do with it,” said Laura Howarth,
“We know that group will likely want to be engaged in the decisions of what that looks like and what we get. It is going to be sort of their legacy project.”
Those decisions will be based on what they’re able to contribute, as well as what they Town can contribute, Howarth said.
Administration noted that the project may cost more than $40,000 with increased prices of materials since the project was initially quoted.
The shades will not be in place this summer, said Howarth, best case scenario would be the middle of August or September depending on approval and tendering the project.
With some time before a report comes back to council, administration has some time to work with the Legacy Committee on this project, said Michaels and Coun. Trevor Haas.
“Then if by July 6 we have an answer and it’s not what we’re looking for, we have another conversation to have. It’s crucial to have this project hit the road,” Haas said.
There is a potential risk if the Legacy funding cannot be secured in time while the full scope of this project is moving forward, that municipal funding may be required from the reserves in the full amount of $40,000, stated administration’s report.
If approved, construction can take place in summer or fall of 2021 with the existing project scope.
The Rotary Spray and Play Park’s original design had one shade structure incorporated for a designated picnic table location.
This shade structure was one of several original components of the project that was removed from the scope to remain on budget.
Trees were planted with the expectation they would eventually provide shady spots but they did not mature to offer significant shade for visitors to the park.
In 2017, an Alberta Prevents Cancer initiative resulted in a draft proposal that could provide grant funding for the purchase of shade structures for the park.
Administration supported the idea but the expenses for the installation and in-ground foundational work were too complex and funding was not secured.
The five-year Capital Plan was updated in 2019 with the shade project incorporated.
The Legacy Committee then indicated their intent to donate funds to the project, which allowed Administration to put this capital project forward as an initiative for 2021 while the conversations were ongoing, and details were being sorted out.
The tentative opening date for the Rotary Play and Spray Park is May 21, 2021, pending weather conditions and the required de-winterizing and maintenance activities.
Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice