KAWARTHA LAKES –Omemee residents will potentially have an opportunity for some watery fun as council considers the development of a splash pad for 2023.
Staff was asked to prepare a proposal for the funding of an Omemee splash pad based on new splash pads in other communities. Kawartha Lakes boasts four splash pads that have recently been built or renovated.
According to Craig Shanks, Director of Community Services, the cost for the installation of a splash pad varies greatly depending on the size and amenities contained within the pad, the landscaping surrounding it and the servicing requirements needed for hook-up.
The report states that the costs can range from as little as 150,000 to 500,000 dollars. Staff has suggested that the potential Omemee splash pad would require an approximate budget of 300,000 dollars.
Councillor Ron Ashmore noted that many Omemee residents have made a request for a splash pad and he is confident that community support and fundraising would be vast.
“I am thankful it is here, I have heard a lot of positive feedback from this from individuals, and local businesses that want to contribute and partner with the city, they would pay for the majority of the cost,” he said.
If the proposal moves forward, the splash pad would be located at the northern greenspace section of the Omemee Beach Park. Shanks noted that this location would be pending the availability of water capacity within the Omemee Drinking Water System, which would be reviewed.
According to Ashmore, Omemee has a hybrid municipal water system, and most of Omemee wells are drilled and dug.
“Omemee is blessed with water, there is so much water underground, tremendous volume,” he said.
And to ensure adequate water supply, Ashmore noted that an environmental assessment may not be needed as other alternatives are available such as the Mill pond that is located beside the potential splash pad.
“It is right beside there, its big, like a mini lake,” he added.
Ashmore estimates that the pond holds approximately 12 million litres of water that could potentially feed the splash pad.
If a splash pad proposal for Omemee is determined to move forward, water capacity issues in the village would need to be addressed and would come with a significant investment required, said Shanks.
The report stated that if there is servicing capacity within Omemee to support this infrastructure, Council could choose to fund the entire project, or a portion of the project greater than the land and servicing components.
“We are not asking for a lot of money in the capital budget, just some seed money but know the community will support this project,” said Ashmore.
According to Shanks, if the installation of an Omemee splash pad proceeds, there will be an operational budget impact for future years of approximately 25,000 dollars per year.
Staff noted that an Omemee splash pad project would be supported by the Omemee community in principle and that many community groups, service clubs and some potential private interest would assist in funding the project. As the project moves forward, staff will reach out to the community to confirm fundraising and assistance.
The report was received and an additional report with a feasible plan and financing options will be brought back to council in the fourth quarter to enhance to the next stage. Mayor Andy Letham noted that 2022 can focus on community involvement and after contributions are made, plans to begin will hopefully commence in 2023.