West Kelowna council puts funding for kids’ new spray park over the top

It may be a little more expensive than anyone projected, but West Kelowna hopes it will have the central community attraction it has been looking for with final approval from District of West Kelowna council for the Westbank Centre Children’s Spray Park.

It may be a little more expensive than anyone projected, but West Kelowna hopes it will have the central community attraction it has been looking for with final approval from District of West Kelowna council for the Westbank Centre Children’s Spray Park.

Councillors had already agreed to fund the final $30,000 not yet raised by the Westbank Rotary Club and agreed to fund another estimated $50,000 in unforeseen expenses.

The Rotary Club has raised almost $250,000 in cash and in kind donations over three to four years of fundraising for the project.

The Rotary Club and district staff all believe the spray park—similar to the ones in Ben Lee Park and in City Park in Kelowna—can be completed before summer.

Rick de Jong, Rotary Club president, said getting support from councillors may come second only to the eventual opening of the park in the life of the project for his 33 members.

“There is a great sense of satisfaction for the club members,” he says.

“This is the biggest project this club has ever undertaken. To take on a quarter million dollar project among 33 members is a really big project.”

The added expenses came at the demand of Interior Health which was looking to see the contaminated water properly dealt with.

A water filtration, chlorination and disinfection system wasn’t in the original plans.

The spray park joins the dog park, spirit square, community garden, an improved washroom and trails in Westbank Centre Park.

Including the spray park, it represents some $750,000 in improvements—the single largest project initiated entirely by the West Kelowna councillors.

But this is the same council that inherited Royal Lepage Place and all the unknown costs that came with it.

While all supported the funding, a few had some pointed questions.

Coun. Rosalind Neis said she wants the district to ensure proper advertising and signage so the park is used.

“The people who desire to use this is (age) 10 and under and I sure hope it gets a lot of use because otherwise it will be a beautiful fountain… I don’t want to see three quarters of a million dollars spent on something that sits idle.”

Coun. Carol Zanon was surprised councillors were eager to approve the construction costs of the park without an operational budget, though she was relieved to hear a lifeguard would not be required.

Coun. Duane Ophus said he had no doubt the park would be well-used and a central point for the community.

“This is just the latest phase in what is turning out to be a really nice Westbank Town Centre park,” he said.

“The community garden is well used by a lot of people, the dog park is very popular and… this great trail head to Powers Creek Canyon. This is the next step in the development of a really nice feature in the community.”

Marshall Jones is a Capital News contributor.