Posted on 19 September 2012 by admin
Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells and veteran councillor Michael Ryan agree that one of their most disappointing times in public office happened four years ago when the idea to build a splash park in this community quickly fell apart after months of optimism.
Four years later, it appears town council, with Wells leading the way, is more determined than ever to get the splash park, that has been talked about for so long, to finally become a reality here in Osoyoos.
Considering Osoyoos is arguably the community with the hottest – and best – weather in all of Canada and the fact tens of thousands of tourists come to visit each and every spring, summer and fall, there’s little doubt a brand new splash park would be a fantastic amenity.
With $100,000 already committed to the project by town council in last year’s budget, a local splash park committee doing all kinds of good things behind-the-scenes and the Osoyoos Rotary Club on board and committed to helping raise big dollars through various fundraising events, there’s little chance this proposal for a splash park is going to fall apart like it did back in 2008.
On Monday, town council threw its support behind setting a tentative opening date for the new splash park for next June at the committee’s preferred site of Jack Shaw Gardens, located only a stones-throw away from the shores of Osoyoos Lake.
The local committee recently completed a tour of splash parks in Lake Country, Penticton, Oliver and West Kelowna to look at various models and the tour convinced them how popular these splash parks are and how much they enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors.
The difference in 2012 compared to 2008 is the amount of community support for the proposed splash park, said Wells.
Wells said he personally knows numerous business owners who are ready, willing and able to donate materials, services and cash to make this dream become a reality.
With the Rotary Club on board and raising big dollars – as they did with the successful Lobster on the Beach event this past Saturday as part of the Osoyoos Celebrates festival – the chances of success this time around are tremendous.
It appears the only stumbling blocks to making the splash park a reality are technical ones relating to the old town well located near Jack Shaw Gardens and water quality issues that are going to have to be addressed before Interior Health will give the go-ahead to this project and site.
The good news is there’s plenty of time to put a detailed and comprehensive proposal and set a budget over the next few months.
As Gerald Davis, the town’s director of community planning, told members of council on Monday, if everything falls into place, the plan would see a Request For Proposal (RFP) be issued early in the spring and construction, which won’t take more than a few weeks, ready to go soon thereafter.
Wells made it very clear the goal should be to open by June.
“I would hate to see this become a two-year project when we have the kind of energy we have now in this community,” said Wells.
As long as the technical issues relating to water and park design can be taken care of as quickly as possible, there’s every reason to remain optimistic a beautiful new splash park will be open next summer.
And that’s great news for the residents of this town and hundreds of thousands of visitors who will continue flocking to Osoyoos over the coming years and decades.
The biggest reason the proposed splash park proposal fell apart four years ago is the scope of the project became a little too big and some major corporate sponsors decided to drop out as the worst recession in decades was just beginning.
With $100,000 already committed to the new proposal, so many community businesses on board, the splash park committee working diligently and effectively and organizations like the Rotary Club committed to raising significant dollars, confidence should remain sky-high that this project can happen as quickly as next summer.
Kudos to members of council for making it a priority and everyone involved so far for worknig so hard on a project that will bring so much to so many people.