Council to decide on replacing parks including splash park

Replacing the Splash Park at the Ray McDonald Sports Center grounds, shown in this file photo, is under consideration by Council.

by Colin Smith

Should the water used in the splash park at the Ray McDonald Sports Center be recycled?
The question arose at Tuesday’s Council Meeting during a discussion of plans for the community’s aging playgrounds.

Morinville has nine playgrounds owned by the Town, including Skyline Ball Diamonds.

Most are more than 20 years old and are considered to be in poor to very poor condition.
According to an Administration report, the current recommended replacement cycle for a playground is 15 to 20 years. In addition, none of the playgrounds in Morinville are considered accessible for persons with as abilities as they all have sand as a base and no accessible play structures.

The Ray MacDonald Playground and Splash Park are more than 20 years old and in poor condition. Removing and replacing the Splash Park is one of the recommendations Council received for work on the playgrounds to be done in 2020.

It is part of Option A, presented to Council by the Administration, which would see the Ray McDonald area maintained as a major destination.

Another option is to move the splash park and ice rink to the grounds of the Morinville Leisure Centre.

Other recommended work to be done in 2020 is removing and replacing the Rotary Park playground, with it to be replaced in the future; removing Belle Park playground and not replacing it; removing the trail fitness equipment; and the rehabilitation of the Bob Foster Extreme Sports Park.

Total cost of the work, an approved 2020 Capital Business Case, is budgeted at $446,000.
Rehabilitation and repair work on the Bob Foster skate park has already been done as it was deemed necessary following an inspection in May. The concrete work was contracted to specialists and Public Works employees did the groundwork and landscape repair. The cost was $43,000.
Removal of the current splash park is expected to cost $12,210 and replacement of its infrastructure including concrete, waterlines and drainage will be $300,000, for a total of $312,120.

The Administration had recommended that Council approve the projected playground work for this year under Option A.

During Council’s discussion, however, the question was raised about recycling the splash park water, which currently simply goes into the sewer system.

“I can’t see doing the same system over and over again where the water just goes down the drain,” said Councillor Nicole Boutestein.

The cost of the water used is about $11,000 per year.

No current estimate of the cost of installing a recycling system was available, but figures from 2017 that were unearthed were $355,000 for a circulation system, $255,000 for a storage system.
Chief Administration Officer Stephane Labonne said it was unknown whether a recycling system for the splash park would require both components.

Council then passed a motion moved by Councillor Sarah Hall calling on the Administration to check out the cost of recycling water at the splash park and report back at its June 23 meeting.

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