Edmonton opens 30 spray parks during heat wave

·2 min read
The City of Edmonton opened 30 spray parks on Tuesday. St. Albert opened their spray parks right before May long weekend, on May 22.  (CBC - image credit)
The City of Edmonton opened 30 spray parks on Tuesday. St. Albert opened their spray parks right before May long weekend, on May 22. (CBC - image credit)

Edmontonians with kids looking to cool off during the current hot spell can head to an assortment of spray parks scattered across the city with 30 opening on Tuesday.

And while that may be good news for those wishing to escape temperatures in the high 20s, not all of the city's spray parks are ready for the crowds just yet.

There are still 43 spray parks remaining in the city that won't open up for the next three to four weeks due to COVID-19 safety protocols as well as maintenance, the city said in a release.

"I wish they were all open right now," councillor Jon Dziadyk told CBC's Edmonton AM on Wednesday.

He said he has been asking the city to turn the taps on especially since surrounding areas like St. Albert have already done so.

"I think we should be a leader in this, so we should be able to respond to a heat wave and accelerate the turning on the taps," he said.

St. Albert opened their spray parks on May 22.

Jasmine Lee, a resident of northeast Edmonton, took her two kids to St. Albert on Sunday after realizing spray parks had not yet opened in Edmonton.

"I was really disappointed in the city," she said.

"I think it was a little crazy that I had to drive all the way to St. Albert," she said.

Lee normally goes to Castledowns Spray Park or Poplar Park, both of which opened up on Tuesday.

"It's been a very long, long time since she's been able to enjoy water in a public setting, especially with the pools being closed for so long," Lee said.

"There just hasn't been any opportunities for her to get out and enjoy water play and enjoy the interaction she might have with other kids."

Edmonton has a total of 74 spray parks but the Glengarry spray park will not open to the public this season because of construction.

Eduardo Sosa, director of infrastructure maintenance at the city, wrote in an email that the city has been working closely with Alberta Health Services to determine when it is safe to open spray parks as well as to ensure that the city's plans match provincial guidelines.

"Safety of our spray park users is our number one priority," he wrote.

Sosa added that the city also wanted to make sure that all spray parks had gone through a recent inspection to address any repairs before opening.

But Dziadyk said the maintenance work should have been completed by now.

"Throughout the winter, there's the possibility that pipes would have burst similar to underground sprinkler systems for lawns, as far as I'm concerned, we could have been doing that all throughout May," he said.

Dziadyk said he knows the city parks sets its own timeline and there isn't much more he can do except bring the concerns raised by his constituents to administration.