By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
Lyndsay Motina, president of the Coalhurst Parks and Recreation Society, was one of the dignitaries present at the Coalhurst Spray Park’s official grand opening celebration Aug. 28.
“We are gathered on the lands of the Blackfoot people. We honour their traditional ways of knowing and caring for this land, as well as Aboriginal people who have helped shape and continue to strengthen our community,” Motina said, during a brief introduction and explanation of the society’s history.
Motina noted the society was formed in 2016 and the group had its sights set on a spray park within the community. “Society members raised funds through a variety of ways, including fundraising initiatives such as selling cookie dough, hosting fundraising events such as our Pig Roast fundraiser and a lot of grant writing.”
Five years later, Motina added, the society has made this goal a reality. “Our society has had many community members dedicate their time, talent and energy towards making this project a success.”
Another dignitary, Town of Coalhurst Deputy Mayor Ron Lagemaat said, water brings us together. “In a dry country like this, we need to gather together to get our water, to clean our water, to drink our water, to use our water and to play with our water. The number one thing in this country that unites us is our water.”
In this particular area, Lagemaat pointed out, Coalhurst is built somewhat in the centre of a crescent. “Oldman River goes right around us. This was the area that Blackfoot people gathered, they camped, they hunted and they were able to hunt here because of the water that drew the animals here. As we came in and they saw the mine was a good place to have here, you need water to have industry like that. You need water to have a town like this.”
Imperial Meadows Park is where that mine was. “We know that, because when we built the spray park, there was a foundation in the ground we had to get out.”
Today, Coalhurst’s water is something to be celebrated and allows residents and visitors to gather together, Lagemaat added. “This is a project that allows us to be united together. It gets us together to do things and to be able to enjoy each other — and that we need, just as much as water.”
Motina said through fundraising efforts and through corporate donations, the society has raised almost $210,000 for the project.