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Kamloops News

How Westsyde residents will make a splash next year

Robert Kelly shows Coun. Nancy Bepple the plans for the Westsyde Centennial Water Park.

KAMLOOPS – After three years of planning and fundraising toward a community dream Westsyde residents could see work actually begin on a new splash park facility at Centennial Park as early as next year.

Westsyde Community Development Society member Robert Kelly was on hand at the city budget session Monday to show the detailed plans to anyone that would listen in hopes of drumming up even more support for the plan.

Last year the society asked council during the budget discussions to have $300,000 put into the project. At the time the community group had already raised $20,000 and while many council members wanted to show the society they supported the efforts it was decided the amount was too high.

“We hear them, we want to work with them, but it's a bad budget year,” Mayor Peter Milobar said during the March meeting in proposing a one-time $30,000 allotment towards the project.

After a lot of discussion and a lot of bartering council agreed to $20,000 annually to help the project move forward.

Since those discussions Kelly says the group has been working closely with the city to get plans in place to start phase one, the washroom and changing facilities, in 2014. The plan is to use the existing utilities and structures to help reduce costs, which have come down to $347,000 from the $600,000 price tag just a year ago.

“There's a lot to consider,” Kelly says, “We have to look at water recycling, environmental impacts.... Nick DeCicco at the city has been great at helping us with all that.”

Kelly explains the 40 per cent price reduction comes from finding efficiencies in the plan, such as moving the site closer to existing utilities and reducing the number of pieces of equipment that will be installed. The group has also looked through the catalogue of water park installations and decided on fewer, and less elaborate, options.

“It won't be like the one up at McGowan,” Kelly says. “We just can't afford that.”

The society is currently working with a possible donor to help offset costs of the outdoor phase, which will see the splash park nestled in a treed opening in the southwest corner of Centennial Park. The project was also one of only a few Kamloops projects to be entered in the Aviva Community Fund competition. It will be announced within the next couple days if the project has made it to the next round of voting.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

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