The outdated water park in Parksville Community Park will be removed at the end of the summer in preparation for construction of new equipment for the 2018 season. — NEWS file photo

Rotary, Lions make splash for new water park

Fundraising campaign to launch with Parksville event May 19

The Parksville Lions Club was instrumental in helping Parksville enjoy a playground and water park at Community Park.

Now the Lions are getting a little help in return.

The Rotary Club of Parksville AM has stepped up to team with the Lions and community contributors in a commitment to raise $100,000 to replace the outdated spray park in the Parksville Community Park, city communications director Deb Tardiff said. The public is invited to the campaign kick-off event on Friday, May 19 at noon in the Lions Ventureland Playground jointly hosted by the Parksville Lions Club and the Rotary Club of Parksville AM. Hot dogs and pop will be served by donation.

“It was the Lions who built the splash park in 1992,” said Tardiff. “They took over the Ventureland Playground a few years before that and continue to do maintenance. The new splash park will cost about $300,000 to construct which will include dismantling of the existing spray park, waterlines, drain infrastructure, new equipment to meet current regulations, new surface or pad, equipment installation, signage, landscaping and commissioning of the new splash park. During its recent 2017 budget bylaw deliberations, the City of Parksville agreed to fund $200,000, with the promise of the remaining $100,000 from the Lions.

With the Lions Club struggling to attract new members and current members getting older, Tardiff said, the Rotary has agreed to help with the fundraising. Currently, she said, $50,000 has been earmarked from the Lions and approximately $10,000 more from the Rotary.

The balance will come through a series of fundraisers and sponsorship opportunities from other community groups, including users of the park. Ballenas Secondary School students have already raised $1,000 through a garage sale May 6.

The existing spray park, added by the Parksville Lions Club to the Ventureland Playground in 1992, will remain open for this summer as usual, from May 12 to September 5. It will then be dismantled and replaced with a new splash park to be ready by May 2018.

The City of Parksville is grateful for the commitment and endorsement of the Rotary and Lions clubs and for the enthusiastic support of the community to ensure this project is a success, said Tardiff. The clubs have created a website with a variety of sponsorship opportunities at all levels, www.parksvillesplashpark.com. Efforts this summer will include 50/50 tickets and the sale of candied salmon at the Summer by the Sea Street Market.

A splash park is a water play area that has no standing water. Water is pumped through decorative structures which children can either stand under or run through. It’s perfect for families with young children. The little ones have fun creating their own games and just letting their imagination run wild, all the while being close to their parents who are able to enjoy the fun with less worry, the city stated in a written release.

The new splash park will be completely wheelchair accessible, so all children will be able to participate.

Open from May to September, the splash park is used by local residents as well as the thousands of tourists who visit the region annually, the city release said. Parents who played in the park as children, now bring their children and their parents now bring the grandchildren. As well, hundreds of school age children visit with their classrooms each year.