By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Coalhurst may be another step closer to getting it’s own spray park.
During their regular Sept. 21 council meeting, Coalhurst Parks and Recreation Society member John Guliker approached Lethbridge County council to make a request for funding and a letter of support for the project.
The society, founded as a non-profit society last year, is looking to build a spray park for the Town of Coalhurst.
“This spray park will be fully accessible for those outside of Coalhurst,” said Guliker, noting that there are county students that get bussed in to attend Coalhurst schools.
The spray park would be located in Imperial Meadows, and would cost $555,879 to build. That price tag would include supplies, installation, spray park fixtures and concrete. The mechanical room and shelter would cost extra, and would include changing rooms for the spray park, but that a secondary priority for the society.
“It would not be something we’ll be doing immediately, depending on the funding,” said Guliker.
“The same with the community kitchen and the picnic shelter. Building the structure itself would be built to accommodate the size of everything, but we will only be using it for mechanical room in the first phase.”
The town of Coalhurst has already committed $300,000 to the project, and would be responsible for the facility. With a contribution of $4,500 and donations of $1,129, that brings their total amount raised to $305,629.
The society has also applied for 15 different grants to help fund the project, however, Guliker said that “it needs to be noted that the grants aren’t a sure thing” and that “in the economic turndown in Canada, it has become highly competitive” to get grants, and other sources have been less likely to donate due to the drop of the price of oil in the last two years.
“We’ve reached out to all local businesses in Coalhurst and individuals that live in Coalhurst. We’re starting now to go towards the businesses in Lethbridge, asking for donations and such,” said Guliker. “So far, we’ve got $4,500 from local businesses.”
Additionally, they are offering recognition of the different level sponsors, as well as naming rights to the facility and benches.
Guliker requested support from the county, and asked if they would be willing to either provide funding or earmark funding for the project.
County Reeve Lorne Hickey remarked that although he thought it was a “great thing”, he was concerned over the upkeep of the spray park, especially as it seemed like every community was getting one, noting there was one in Picture Butte, Coaldale and Nobleford.
“I don’t deny they are a great thing,” said Hickey.
“It’s just that how do you really make them work, going down the road?”
Guliker acknowledge Hickey’s concerns. Coun. Ken Benson inquired about whether someone donated to the project could get a tax receipt, to which Guliker said they would “absolutely”.
Coun. Tom White also inquired about the cost of maintenance for the park, and asked how the water would be treated.
Guliker said it it would cost approximately $190 per month to operate the park, including the wage of the person who inspects the park on a weekly basis. He also assured council that the water would be on a closed circuit, which helps keep the costs of water and sewer down.
“We had an approximate estimate of about $1,000 savings by gong to this system,” said Guliker. “It’s quite a substantial savings, but it’s also quite a substantial amount to go to a circulating system versus an open system.”
Guliker also said that the water would be checked and treated everyday, to eliminate bacteria, saying it would be like a pool system in that it would have a cleaning and a chlorine system for the water in the park.
Administration’s recommended response to the request was that council write of letter of support for the project to the society, and that they encourage the society to apply to the county’s Land Trust Reserve Fund once it becomes available in 2018.
Council passed a motion to approve administration’s recommendation.
The society hosted a fundraising event on Saturday Sept. 23, and have a Christmas fundraiser in the works.